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

Trusts with the largest land sales

NHS trusts are under increasing pressure to sell land which is deemed surplus to requirements, after Sir Robert Naylor estimated they could raise up to £6bn by flogging parts of their estate.

After his review last year, the Department of Health and Social Care suggested it could penalise areas where “progress on disposals is not sufficiently ambitious”.

The results of that pressure have started to be felt in 2017-18, when providers sold more than £350m worth of land, which was an increase of more than 50 per cent on the previous year.

Inevitably though, nearly all the big deals were in London and the south east, where higher property prices create a greater incentive to sell, as well as larger receipts.

Mortuary failings see ‘dramatic increase’

More than 500 “shortfalls” in mortuary services have been exposed in 2017-18, triggering concerns by staff at the Human Tissue Authority, the regulator of the post-mortem sector.

Representative bodies for pathologists said they are taking the rise “extremely seriously”, and warned workforce problems and increasing demand were among the main factors.

The 510 failings last year, reported during HTA inspections, were found across nearly all the 58 mortuaries, which were inspected in 2017-18.

The number of failings last year contrast starkly with the previous two years. 

The HTA figures also show the percentage of inspections in which no failings have been reported has fallen from 43.2 per cent in 2013-14 to 5.2 per cent in 2017-18.

In the same timeframe, the percentage of inspections, which have exposed major or critical failings rose from 11.4 per cent to 58.6 per cent.