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

The decision not to include Care Quality Commission inspectors in regular asymptomatic covid testing could turn them into “super-spreaders,” unions have warned.

The Department for Health and Social Care deemed inspectors not eligible for the weekly testing as they are not required to have “hands-on” contact with people.

But GMB and the Public and Commercial Services Union have said this “disgraceful” decision puts inspectors at risk. GMB said there is a “real risk” that inspectors “could unintentionally become super spreaders”.

The Infection and Prevention Society, however, has said inspectors are not likely to be put at significant risk due to being left out of the testing.

Hard words on Microsoft

The NHS’ longstanding reliance on Bill Gates’ software could be putting the service at risk of another major cyber security attack, according to a royal college IT lead.

Chair of the Royal College of GPs’ Health Informatics Group Dr Marcus Baw has told HSJ that this kind of “monoculture” leaves the NHS vulnerable to bugs, which are able to sweep through the system quickly. His fears will have been stoked by news in June that NHSX had struck a deal with Microsoft to provide IT services across the NHS.

Mr Baw urged greater diversity of computer systems to quell further cyber threats. The infamous WannaCry ransomware attack affected dozens of NHS trusts in the UK in 2017, as it moved rapidly through Microsoft computer systems. The likelihood of NHS organisations having the inclination to dilute their relationship with the mega corp that is Microsoft, and face the complication of integrating other systems, is up for debate.