The essential stories and talking points from Tuesday

Governance investigation launched

NHS Improvement is investigating financial governance at a London hospital trust after management consultants raised concerns over how it produced its 2017-18 plan.

Lewisham and Greenwich Trust, which runs two hospitals in the south east of the capital, is being investigated by the regulator after a report by EY, HSJ has learned.

The report, produced for NHS Improvement’s national financial improvement programme, was delivered in May and raised concerns “around the process by which the trust’s 2017-18 financial plan was approved”, according to a document seen by HSJ.

NHS Improvement is concerned about the financial governance at the trust. In particular, said a letter to trust leaders, “whether appropriate steps were taken by the trust board and/or its sub-committees to assure itself over the credibility of its 2017-18 plan”.

Lewisham and Greenwich Trust was aiming for a year end deficit of £22.8m for 2017-18. A trust spokesman confirmed it was £12.4m behind plan at the end of July.

The trust denies wrongdoing.

Lewisham and Greenwich was created in its current form in the wake of the breakup of South London Healthcare in 2013 amid huge deficits.

Southern Health to lose community services?

Southern Health Foundation Trust may not provide community services beyond April 2019.

The trust, which has become synonymous in recent years with shortcomings in care quality and leadership, is said to be in the process of “disinvesting” its community services, according to board papers from neighbouring Hampshire Hospitals FT.

A new procurement for an integrated model of care, replacing the community services contract, which accounts for about a third of Southern Health’s turnover, is on the way.

The trust confirmed “divestment” of its physical health services was an option, but added that no decision had been made.

A Deloitte review has suggested commissioners could take the leading role for further developing the county’s Better Local Care vanguard, which is likely to affect the make up of the new integrated model for community services.

This would leave Southern Health to focus on its mental health provision – the area responsible for most of the damning headlines published about the trust in the last few years.

The use of “divestment” in the trust’s statement recalled the 2010-11 era transforming community services programme, when primary care trusts were forced to “divest themselves” of their provider arms. In Hampshire, this led to a reverse takeover of the local mental health trust by Katrina Percy and her ex-PCT team. A standalone Hampshire mental health trust by 2019 would bring the Southern Health story full circle.

Who next for Whittington?

A couple of weeks ago we reported that Simon Pleydell, the departing Whittington Healthcare chief, had been approached to run the Humber, Coast and Vale sustainability and transformation partnership.

It is now confirmed that he will take the job. The STP was among those rated as “needs most improvement” by NHS England, and includes two of the 14 national capped expenditure process areas.

The letter announcing Mr Pleydell’s appointment stated that he brought “a wealth of experience in NHS leadership and management” and that the STP faced “a number of significant challenges and longstanding legacy issues that need to be addressed”.

Meanwhile, his replacement at the Whittington has been revealed: Siobhan Harrington will take up the post on 16 September after being the trust’s strategy director for the past three years.

It will be her first chief executive job, although she has also previously served as deputy chief executive, and was acting chief at the trust for two months in 2011.

The former nurse joined the Whittington as director of primary care in 2006, having previously worked as director of primary care commissioning at Haringey Primary Care Trust. She has also held London wide and Department of Health roles.