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How do you solve a problem like East Kent? NHS England must be humming the refrain from Rodgers and Hammerstein as it contemplates yet another Care Quality Commission report into the troubled trust.

The report was not disastrous – it gave an overall rating of “requires improvement” – but the detail in its 177 pages highlights the challenges the trust still faces. The lack of confidence in the executive team was probably the most shocking – less than one in six of the staff surveyed expressed any – along with what sounds like a loss of some financial grip.

But it is hard to see much sign of improvement in a trust which desperately needs something to lift its spirits. The CQC’s list of “must dos” goes on for several pages and, at points, the report reads more like an “inadequate” one than a “requires improvement”.

NHSE may be reluctant to see yet more change in the top team – which still contains several interims – but may be wondering what will lead to an uptick in performance and how long it has to wait to see it. Could it be less The Sound of Music and more facing the music in 2024?

Doubling up

An integrated care board chair is to step down for a permanent role leading two trusts.

David Flory will resign from Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB, which he joined when it was in shadow form in 2020, to take over as substantive chair of Liverpool University Hospitals and Liverpool Women’s Hospital in March.

Mr Flory, who was the national NHS finance director at the Department of Health more than a decade ago, has been interim chair of LUH since the spring. The trust recently formed a shared leadership model with LWH and advertised for a joint chair.

NHS rules dictate that chairs cannot lead a provider and an ICB on a permanent basis.

From 2015 to 2020, Mr Flory worked in Qatar before rejoining the NHS. He briefly served as interim chair of Cheshire and Merseyside ICB when it was in shadow form.

Also on today

Long-standing chief executive of NHS Confederation’s mental health network Sean Duggan has announced he is leaving to chair Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust. Meanwhile, our last London Eye of 2023 celebrates the numerous achievements across the capital over the past year.