The must read stories from Thursday

New CEO backs controversial hospital plan

Back in 2015, Hampshire Hospitals Foundation Trust received planning approval for a new critical treatment hospital, despite CCGs saying the plans were unaffordable. Previous estimates have suggested it would cost £150m to develop the contentious site.

The trust’s new chief executive, Alex Whitfield, has insisted building the new hospital remains the “the most sensible solution” to ensure the sustainability of acute services in the region.

Her comments come amid a review of acute services in the area. Ms Whitfield told us: “The critical treatment hospital is part of that solution. When you go through the logic that is where you end up.”

Plans for the hospital include treating patients for heart attack, stroke and major trauma; running a centralised, consultant led maternity service; and co-locating a new cancer treatment centre.

Ms Whitfield also told HSJ the start of tenure has coincided with the trust reportedly hitting the four hour accident and emergency target for the last six weeks – though official data has not been published.

The trust has consistently struggled against the target, and last achieved it for a whole quarter in 2013.

A London problem

The London NHS region has the worst performance against race equality standards in the country despite having the largest black and minority ethnic workforce, a new report has found.

According to the second annual workforce race equality standards report, BME staff in the capital are twice as likely face disciplinary processes than white colleagues. Only 11 per cent of very senior managers in London are from a BME background.

The region had the highest percentage of BME staff experiencing harassment, bullying and abuse from patients, relatives and the public in last 12 months at 30 per cent. It also had the highest percentage of BME staff experiencing harassment, bullying or abuse from colleagues in the last 12 months at 29 per cent.

Simon Stevens said the overall report showed signs of progress in the NHS but added: “No one should yet be comfortable or satisfied with what these figures show overall, and many employers still have much to do before the NHS can declare mission accomplished on this critical agenda.”

IR35 update

Locum doctors and temporary NHS staff hit by new tax rules will not face retrospective action over their previous tax arrangements, HM Revenue and Customs has confirmed.

NHS Improvement said it would work with trusts to reassure staff who are concerned they could be affected by tax investigations after IR35 regulations came into force this month. The new rules mean the responsibility for paying national insurance and income tax for temporary staff has shifted to the trust.