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

No longer a side job?

The job of leading a health system has, until now, largely been seen as something of a side role, to be done in conjunction with a statutory role leading a legal entity.

But the appointment of Jackie Bene — the highly rated chief executive of Bolton Foundation Trust — to lead the Cheshire and Mersey Sustainability and Transformation Partnership suggests that has started to change.

Dr Bene will leave Bolton at the end of March to become chief officer for the challenged STP, which has so far struggled to bring cohesiveness and clear direction to the region.

The STP’s previous leader was Mel Pickup, who performed the role alongside her substantive position as chief executive of Warrington and Halton Hospitals FT. She recently left for a job leading the acute trust and health system in Bradford.

A substantive and dedicated chief officer for the region, along with new chair Alan Yates, is expected to help move the transformation agenda along more swiftly — and there’s plenty of work to do on that.

STP supporters will be keen for more to follow.

The cost of the storm

As the UK crosses its fingers for a period of calm after two storms, some — including hospital trusts — are left counting the cost of the damage. 

Storm Ciara caused an estimated £20,000 of damage at hospitals in Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees when it swept across the North East at the beginning of February.

Patients had to be evacuated from one ward at the University Hospital Hartlepool after strong winds blew away the roof panels.

The damage is a bit of a drop in the North Sea for North Tees and Hartlepool Foundation Trust, however, which already had a £40m maintenance backlog. But it’s a good chance to renew calls for more central investment in its hospital buildings. It told HSJ some of its estate only has between 15 and 20 years left before it reaches its “end of life”.

The government may have committed to hospital building schemes over the past eight months, but none of them involve hospitals in North Tees and Hartlepool. It will hope Ciara has helped its case to be included in forthcoming tranches.