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

Gill Leng’s replacement as chief executive of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has been announced as Legal and General’s Samantha Roberts

Dr Roberts joined the capital and retail retirement arm of the insurance giant in September 2020, becoming responsible for its investment strategy across the health and care sector.

She had previously spent four years at NHS England, first as director of innovation, research and life sciences and then as the chief executive of the Accelerated Access Collaborative, which helped pharmaceutical and MedTech businesses get innovative products tested in or funded by the NHS.

Dr Roberts joined consultants McKinsey after working as a surgical trainee in Australia and has then worked in academia, private and the NHS. She was head of operations at University College London Hospitals Foundation Trust specialist hospitals between 2008 and 2012.

Ms Leng announced her decision to step down in September following the death of her husband, former Public Health England emeritus medical director Sir Paul Cosford.

Compassion urged, not conflict

Coronavirus uptake among NHS staff is a sensitive topic, and in a situation where both sides of opinion are deeply entrenched, one trust has urged “compassion” towards its unvaccinated workers.

Homerton University Hospital Foundation Trust leaders “remain worried” that informal conversations with staff yet to receive the jab “haven’t made an impact yet”.

A board meeting held this week heard the “vast majority, if not everyone” at the trust fell within the scope of regulations, requiring staff to receive the covid jab as a condition of employment.

Patient-facing healthcare workers need to have the first jab by 3 February and two doses by 1 April.

HUHFT’s director of people Tom Nettel said those who remain unvaccinated by the deadline may be faced with the outcome of dismissal, particularly given “very limited” opportunities for redeployment.

He added: “We ask everyone to be as compassionate as possible in terms of the personal decision that each and every person who is currently unvaccinated will have to make, and of course the stress and anxiety that may bring to them, their family or their colleagues who work alongside them.”

As of 30 November, 87.8 per cent of HUHFT staff have had the first jab.