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

Losing the dressing room

The new leaders of the troubled Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust say they are committed to challenging any poor behaviour by senior medics.

But the decision to agree a secondment for medical director Nadeem Moghal, who had tried to take on some troublesome consultants, raises questions over this commitment.

A memo to clinical staff from the trust’s communications team, seen by HSJ, said Dr Moghal has been seconded to roles at the Royal College of Pathologists and Nuffield Trust think tank.

It comes after the publication of an NHS Improvement commissioned review earlier this month, which said his position “may be unsustainable over the longer term”.

The review had credited Dr Moghal with tackling “inappropriate behaviours amongst medical consultants”, saying he promoted “more structured job planning and greater transparency in relation to private patient activities”.

But it found there was also a view that his style and approach could be “overly robust” and this was “not always conducive to bringing the medical workforce with him”.

In football parlance, he had lost the dressing room.

But for some at the trust, it was the dressing room that was the problem, and not the manager.

One senior clinician told HSJ: “It sends out a very bad message about rolling over and accepting poor consultant behaviours. It will make his successor’s job basically impossible.”

The last straw

It seems self declared workforce champion Matt Hancock will have a fight on his hands after returning from the summer recess. The consultant’s committee chair has told HSJ in an exclusive interview that the senior medical workforce feels that it has been singled out for special punishment by the government’s disappointing pay offer announced last month.

Rob Harwood makes it clear that the union wants to get the 10 years of pay restraint reversed to prevent the entire consultant workforce from feeling undermined – he argued that consultants are already left feeling the least valued in the public sector.

With consultant shortages plaguing many trusts across the country, this feeling of frustration could have a serious impact on this increasingly disgruntled workforce. The government has already admitted senior staff are taking early retirement over unpopular pension reforms, but will the same be seen if a satisfactory pay offer isn’t reached in the forthcoming contract negotiations?