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NHS England has begun recruiting for leadership roles – including a chief executive – for its recently announced national improvement board.

Vin Diwakar, medical director for transformation and secondary care, said in NHSE’s transformation bulletin that available roles include chair, chief executive, national clinical director and improvement specialist. 

The board was announced in April to agree a “small number of shared national priorities on which NHSE, with providers and systems, will focus our improvement-led delivery work”.

Dr Diwakar said NHSE was trying to create conditions in which “continuous quality improvement is the ‘go to’ method for tackling clinical, operational and financial challenges in every provider and system, including primary care”. 

Quality improvement is an “urgent” challenge, with Amanda Pritchard identifying it as a top priority at last month’s ConfedExpo conference, he continued, saying that “one of the most important signals we can give the NHS is to role model these changes ourselves”.

The newsletter does not link to any adverts for the roles.

The creation of the board follows a review, led by South East regional director and former trust chief Anne Eden, recommending the board be established after finding NHSE’s “structures and governance do not yet optimise our ability to focus on a small number of shared national priorities effectively”.

Culture under fire

Two damning investigations into University Hospitals Birmingham Foundation Trust have spoken of a “medical patriarchy” and regular “misogynistic behaviour”. 

The reports follow major concerns in recent months about safety, culture, and leadership at the organisation.

The NHSE review said the trust “could do more to balance the medical patriarchy that dominates” the organisation. It noted consultants are invited to observe a chief executive’s advisory group meeting, but nursing, midwifery and allied health professional leaders are not.

The NHSE report advised that the portfolios of the trust’s executive directors be reviewed. It also called for a “national and transparent” recruitment of a substantive chief executive. HSJ has reported the trust’s plans to cut board posts by a fifth, and that a permanent CEO is expected to be appointed by the end of July by chair Dame Yve Buckland.

The reports are the outcome of an investigation into the trust’s leadership carried out by NHSE, and an oversight review by former NHSE deputy medical director Mike Bewick.

Also on today

Steve Black reports on two recent studies of the NHS presenting contrasting viewpoints, with one lacking practical solutions and the other providing insights without concrete recommendations. And in news we report a warning by charities that many vulnerable patients are struggling to access covid treatments after commissioning responsibility switched to integrated care boards this week.