The must-read stories and debate in health policy and leadership.

North Middlesex University Hospital Trust has appointed a new chief executive to step into the spot vacated by Maria Kane, who left in the autumn last year to run a trust in the West Country.

Haematologist Nnenna Osuji will move north of the river in the summer to take over at NMUH, having been deputy chief executive and medical director at Croydon Health Services Trust. Dr Osuji’s “strong experience as a leader and clinician will bring significant strengths to North Mid,” according to NMUH’s chair Cedi Frederick.

When in post, Dr Osuji will be one of two trust chief executives in London of minority ethnic background, alongside Jinjer Kandola at Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust. This is a deeply troubling state of affairs, especially when you consider the ethnic diversity of the populations London’s 34 trusts serve and the ethnic diversity of the staff they employ.

Beyond the capital there are just eight minority ethnic CEOs out of more than 200 trusts across England, with one set to retire in the summer. This will not come as a surprise – last year an HSJ investigation revealed nearly 100 trusts had no minority ethnic very senior managers – but it’s still damning.

Cart before the horse?

Call HSJ old fashioned, but surely it’s only right that the evidence for a large policy shift is gathered and set out before said policy is rolled out nationally?

This does not appear to be the case with plans for patients to be able to book appointment slots in accident and emergency by calling 111.

Sites only began piloting the model late last year and a full evaluation of them is yet to have been carried out.

But by March the new system appeared to be being actively rolled out across the service, with 75 of England’s 126 acute trusts with a type 1 emergency department having already begun allowing patients to book appointments in A&E by calling 111, according to NHS England data published this month.

And the Royal College of Emergency Medicine president Katherine Henderson this week told HSJ the rollout should be paused until a robust evaluation of the new system had been undertaken.

She said: “We are very keen to see some data and clinical validation so we can robustly assess how the 111 First model is working, because, at the moment, we haven’t really seen enough to say: ‘This is something that we really need to push on with’.

“We don’t want to say no [to rolling out 111 First across the whole system], because it might be helpful. But, equally, we would like to see some evidence that it really is helpful, and it’s not just creating a new market for patients.”

“These were supposed to be pilots, so we are keen to see some data from the initiatives and have the chance to ask: ‘Is this working out well for us?’”

Sounds fair enough.