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

The fallout from the care scandal within Liverpool’s community services in the early 2010s still has a way to run, with Dr Bill Kirkup currently working on a second investigation into specific incidents and HR processes.

The first Kirkup inquiry found Liverpool Community Health Trust had sought to “conceal” serious care failings and multiple cases of patient harm, as it made deep cost improvement savings in a bid for foundation trust status.

Among those accused of being part of the problem by the Nursing and Midwifery Council was Debbie Moore, who was the trust’s former head of healthcare at HMP Liverpool.

However, five years after first being referred to the regulator, a fitness to practise panel dismissed all 12 charges brought against her, instead finding “an abundance of evidence of the considerable efforts that [she] and the rest of the [prison] healthcare team made to escalate and address these issues”.

In a first public interview about her experience, Ms Moore told HSJ she was “scapegoated” for the problems at the prison, where she says she worked tirelessly to address the issues and had repeatedly flagged concerns to the LCH management team.

She says the trust would routinely downgrade risks escalated by divisional managers, as it sought to make drastic cost savings.

Ms Moore said: “They have absolutely no idea what this has done to me. To keep it going for so many years was so cruel. I went through five years of hell.”

Must do better

The NHS has made glacial progress on improving diversity at senior levels and a new HSJ investigation has revealed where more work needs to be done.

An analysis has found that nearly 100 trusts do not have a very senior manager whose ethnicity is declared to be from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background.

It also uncovered three entire health systems which do not have any BAME VSMs, bringing into sharp focus parts of the country where representation seems to be lacking.

While the NHS acknowledges there is a longstanding problem, some wonder if action is going far enough.