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

Change is coming thick and fast for NHSX staff, who are moving to NHS England’s new transformation directorate under plans to speed up the health service’s digital transformation.

Not only are teams being moved over to NHSE directors, but the NHSX “brand” itself will be retired as soon as the end of this week.

NHSX staff were told at a meeting on Wednesday that they should no longer use NHSX’s name or emblem, and comms staff have already been tasked with coming up with an interim name or acronym.

Friday therefore becomes unofficially the last day of NHSX’s existence, even though its staff will continue their work as usual come Monday. The brand will be celebrated at NHSX’s HQ on Friday, with chiefs having drawn up a list of achievements during the unit’s three-year tenure.

The merger with NHSE means there is no longer need for a chief executive at NHSX, and the current incumbent Matthew Gould will therefore lose this title.

However, he will remain the NHS’ national director for digital transformation as well as a director general at the Department of Health and Social Care.

Precisely what his job will involve is not yet clear, as new NHSE transformation director Tim Ferris continues to overhaul the current set-up. 

Opening up

It’s rare that a chief executive of a major city trust gives his take on key issues facing his trust and the wider NHS – but David Rosser, of University Hospitals Birmingham, spoke to HSJ about a variety of topics this week.

The CEO stepped into his role overseeing the merger of former Heart of England Foundation Trust and UHB in September 2018 and, more than three years on, he reflected on its progress.

Professor Rosser, a controversial figure in NHS leadership circles, ruffled feathers by claiming that HEFT was the “biggest corporate failure the NHS has seen”.

Some of his other more contentious remarks were about his organisation’s culture – which has drawn criticisms about speaking up and allegations of bullying – and his own ‘fit and proper’ person review.

He was cleared by the review last September, and in our interview said he felt the processes were “vastly out of proportion”.

It followed a 2018 employment tribunal in which Professor Rosser was heavily criticised, and found he had been “deliberately misleading” or failed to show sufficient “care and attention” in the dismissal of a whistleblowing surgeon.

Other topics on the agenda were elective and cancer recovery – UHB has had one of the largest elective waiting lists during covid, and its cancer backlog is among the most significant in the country.

Also on today

Several million doses of the covid-19 vaccine are still ‘sitting in fridges’ across England and are likely to be thrown away, despite their expiry date already being extended, and in this week’s The Ward Round, Nick Kituno finds a worrying lack of diversity in the make-up of the new integrated care boards.