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

Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust has revealed more details around its overtime payments to several board members during the peak of the pandemic’s first wave.

The issue, one example of several troubling governance problems at the trust, came to light after CPFT staff blew the whistle through the Freedom To Speak Up process.

Details of the payments — first revealed by HSJ last week — were set out in an all-staff email by new interim CEO Matthew Patrick.

He said four board members (one of which HSJ understands was recently-departed CEO Phil Confue) received a “single flat rate payment” for extra hours worked during Easter 2020.

Dr Patrick apologised on behalf of the board and said he recognised the issue’s “sensitivity” at a time when much of the NHS has been working long hours during the pandemic.

He said the directors had all repaid the overtime received.

Asked for its view, Managers in Partnership, the union representing NHS senior managers, said — on general grounds — it campaigned for “all staff” to receive overtime payments during the pandemic.

However, it added this should be equitably applied to “all staff under a clear and open framework”.

Another source at CPFT told HSJ the payments were “ethically wrong” and should never have been made.

A wider governance review has been carried out at the trust, but its findings have not yet been published.

Weekend listening

After the first covid wave, HSJ Health Check took a deep dive into three regions in England and asked what their prospects looked like over the coming months.

Now, as the third wave ebbs away, we have returned once more to London, the Midlands and the North West and asked how did things pan out for them? And what are the main challenges the health systems will now be grappling with?

Although all three regions had a slightly different covid experience — for example, the North West suffered the most during the autumn’s often-forgotten second wave — they all face a similarly steep mountain to climb to get on top of rising elective and cancer lists, support an exhausted workforce and ensure important capital projects go ahead.

You can listen to HSJ Health Check here, or subscribe on SpotifyApple Podcasts, and all the other popular podcast platforms.