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

NHS England is planning to roll out new emergency care standards which are designed to replace the four-hour A&E target before winter, it has confirmed.

A paper discussed at Tuesday’s NHSE board meeting says local systems will be asked to adopt the new measures, “rapidly learn from this process and implement improvements in a dynamic learning cycle over autumn”.

However, the new standards have not been published or consulted on and do not have official sign-off from ministers. HSJ has asked the Department of Health and Social Care if it supports the plan but has not, yet, received a response.

The board meeting heard that covid had demonstrated to NHSE that their batch of proposed measures are the right ones, and they are discussing with government when they can publish the latest findings of their clinical review of standards.

Medical bias

The NHS must tackle the discrimination faced by overseas medics as an essential part of renewed efforts to improve retention as fewer doctors arrive in the UK from abroad, the chief executive of the General Medical Council has told HSJ.

In a wide-ranging interview, Charlie Massey highlighted discrimination experienced by overseas and black, Asian and minority ethnic doctors.

He said: “This isn’t an issue we can ignore any longer, about how we create those inclusive environments. I want to make sure the GMC is playing a role in supporting conversations locally and nationally.”

He said the regulator was also having conversations with responsible officers to ensure local systems were “fair and free from bias”, adding: “The fact is that if you are a BAME doctor you are more than twice as likely to be referred [to the GMC] by your employer as a white doctor.”