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

Getting Leathered

Devon’s struggling health economy has appointed another high profile Dame to chair its sustainability and transformation partnership.

Dame Suzi Leather will start in the role this summer and oversee the appointment of a new accountable officer for the STP and its two clinical commissioning groups; Northern, Eastern and Western Devon CCG; and South Devon and Torbay CCG.

The independent chair role was previously held by Dame Ruth Carnall.

Dame Suzi has previously chaired numerous non-departmental government bodies - including the Charity Commission and Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority – winning her the enviable epithet of “quango queen” from several of our lovely tabloids.

There is still quite a job to do in Devon, despite significant improvement to the financial position being made since most of the county was placed in NHS England’s Orwellian sounding “success regime”.

The organisations within the wider STP ended 2017-18 with a combined deficit of more than £60m.

Heart in the right place

Hospital leaders in Leicester have been hurriedly getting their ducks in a row to ensure that children’s heart surgery is not decommissioned by NHS England.

Until the end of last year, the congenital heart disease service at Glenfield Hospital looked set to be closed along with units in London and Newcastle – a threat which still hangs over the services if tougher commissioning standards are not met on time.

University of Leicester Hospitals Trust has now moved to relocate the service into the main Royal Infirmary site, where all its other children’s services are based.

Chief executive John Adler says the relocation is part of the trust’s major reconfiguration programme to create a standalone Leicester Children’s Hospital, and it will be the first time all the children’s services have been under one roof.

The trust is working against the clock to make the move by March 2020, however, which is the deadline set by NHSE to meet its new standards, as it will need to raise an additional £10.5m to pay for the relocation.