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A hospital trust has been accused by its MP of leading a “witch hunt” against one of its own directors who has raised concerns about alleged Islamophobia.

Labour MP Naz Shah has also told Bradford Hospitals Foundation Trust that it manipulated a recruitment process for an executive position to ensure the CEO’s “preferred candidate” was shortlisted.

In an internal letter seen by HSJ, Ms Shah said there had been a “concerted effort” by the trust to “silence” three non-executive directors who have previously raised concerns about Islamophobia and culture.

The way the trust has treated one of the concerned NEDs, says Ms Shah, “could be described as a witch hunt”.

The trust said the concerns were being investigated and so could not comment further.

However, in another letter Ms Shah has raised concerns about the trust’s investigation process.

Inspection introspection

Plans for the Care Quality Commission to start inspecting integrated care systems have been put on hold amid the government declining to sign off on the process, HSJ understands.

Despite Birmingham and Solihull ICS and Dorset ICS having already been inspected under a pilot approach, the CQC has now put the brakes on assessments elsewhere until it receives government approval. 

Under legislation brought in when ICSs were set up in 2022, the CQC can review and assess systems but the government must approve its methodology. The first inspections were due to begin this month.

One Department of Health and Social Care source said that as ministers were underwhelmed by the pilot reports they asked the CQC to improve the process “so the assessment provides more useful conclusions”.

The regulator’s James Bullion wrote in a letter to integrated care board chiefs last week that following discussions with the DHSC, the CQC has agreed to a short delay in starting ICS assessments to allow for “further refinements” to its inspection approach.

It follows similar delays to government approval for the CQC to begin rating ICSs. It is unclear if or when these will be implemented — DHSC instructed the CQC not to rate BSol or Dorset.

Also on today

In North by North West, Lawrence Dunhill says the missive from system leaders in Cheshire and Mersey before Christmas, calling for hospitals to take drastic steps to reduce ambulance handover delays over winter, had little or no impact. And we report that a trust could face a £50m yearly bill for outsourcing preparation of chemotherapy drugs, after external inspections raised concern about a leaking roof and other infection risks.