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

Sometimes events

Countless projects that were due to happen in the first half of 2020 ended up being delayed by coronavirus, but have now started to come back on the agenda.

Among these are an external review into seven “never events” at Alder Hey Children’s Foundation Trust over the last two years.

They include a 15-year-old who had the wrong tooth removed by the surgical division, a patient who had the wrong eye operated on, a swab that was left inside a patient having their adenoids and tonsils removed, and an incorrect implant being inserted into an orthopaedics patient.

The series of incidents were highlighted by Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group, in its September board papers, which said:  “The trust also plans to work with Imperial College London on a peer review and bespoke human factors training to include simulation training and coaching. The trust also plans to produce an overarching action plan to bring together the themes and learning from the seven never events. This work is still underway and NHSE/I and CCG had requested a copy of this plan.” ICL were instrumental in creating the World Health Organisation safer surgery checklist.

New model

A senior trust boss has quit to run a not-for-profit provider offering “a new model for primary care”.

John Howarth will step down from his role as deputy CEO of North Cumbria Integrated Care FT to run a social enterprise consisting of 11 GP practices.

Profits from the practices will be reinvested in patient care, and the organisation – North Cumbria Primary Care – will try and preserve local family surgeries.

Professor Howarth was due to step down from the trust earlier this year, but instead served as its strategic commander for the first phase of its covid-19 response.

Spending almost 10 years at board level, Professor Howarth is credited with overseeing the merger of North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust and Cumbria Partnership FT last October.