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It’s doubtful that anyone ever takes on an NHS chair’s job expecting a quiet life but Philippa Slinger is undoubtedly up for a tough job in accepting the role at University Hospitals Sussex Foundation Trust.

Ms Slinger has been appointed to a trust that made the headlines again this week with allegations about a surgeon assaulting registrars in an operating theatre and was the subject of a Newsnight exposé recently. It is also under investigation by Sussex police around a number of deaths — though progress on this feels slow — and coroners have raised concerns about maternity care.

If that sounds like a challenging role, there are some potential upsides. The trust has had massive investment in its main Brighton site, which could enable it to deliver more tertiary services there. It’s also getting investment in its accident and emergency there, which has struggled with capacity.

It has a newish chief executive in Dr George Findlay and has substantially revamped its senior team over the last couple of years. Its finances are not totally dire this year.

These are things to cling on to, and to remember, in the words of the song, “the only way is up”.

One MD to manage them all

The four remaining Commissioning Support Units are to have a single managing director as a review of their operation model by NHS England continues.

Michael van Hemert is being made the MD of all four of the entities, having led the South, Central and West CSU since 2016.

He will take over at the Arden and GEM (Greater East Midlands) CSU, Midlands and Lancashire CSU, and North of England Care System Support in early May.

As those names would suggest, the current crop of CSUs are amalgamations of predecessor organisations. There used to be 20 of them, set up following the Lansley Reforms to help the nascent clinical commissioning groups with business support, help procurement and commissioning, and back-office functions like contract management.

The messaging around the current reforms is somewhat mixed. NHSE, which hosts and oversees the CSUs, has said merging the four is not the priority but it has also said it wants to consolidate and standardise their operations.

It is reviewing their operation model because they “will need to work increasingly collaboratively to operate at scale and in the most efficient and effective way, delivering high-quality services and value for money”.

Also on today

In Recovery Watch, James Illman finds a possible reason for referrals being lower than expected, and in Comment, Sean Duggan says challenges in implementing the Right Care Right Person policy reveal concerns over resource allocation, local coordination, and potential risks to vulnerable individuals.