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There are plenty of people who believe the NHS’s problems could all be solved by simply asking staff what to do. Without doubt, staff often come up with ideas to improve services or save money in their own areas but they are unlikely to be able to suggest ways to save tens of millions.
So East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust chief executive Tracey Fletcher is likely to have to do a lot more than appealing to staff for ideas to stop her trust sliding towards a £120m deficit. In an all-staff email, she warned the trust risked missing its £72m deficit target – eye-watering in itself – by close to £50m and asked for everyone to come up with suggestions.
The trust has already introduced some measures to drag down spending and doubtless there will be more but with cost improvement savings being way off target in the early months of the financial year, it may struggle to regain lost ground.
With other trusts in Kent and Medway Integrated Care System facing their own challenges, a rescue package may be hard to arrange locally – meaning the ICS as a whole risks missing its year-end target.
Going to bat
NHS England has given its “full support” to an integrated care board chair after an independent investigation upheld several complaints against her in a previous role.
Danielle Oum left Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health FT last October following a trust-commissioned probe which found she had not always acted with “honesty, truthfulness and clarity”. Results of this review were made public in January this year after the report was leaked to HSJ.
Ms Oum had been appointed chair of Coventry and Warwickshire ICB the previous October, four months before the complaints were lodged against her.
Now NHSE has reviewed the matter and concluded that it “continue[s] to offer Danielle our full support in her role as chair of Coventry and Warwickshire ICB”.
The original review concluded that Ms Oum failed to follow proper processes when suspending a colleague. It added that, on some occasions, her behaviour “exhibited a disregard for most of the Nolan principles”.
NHSE said its review involved a “rigorous fact-finding process” and that the committee responsible for adjudicating the issues had delivered what it believed to be a “fair decision”.
It added that the review had provided “important lessons for all organisations and individuals involved”.
Also on hsj.co.uk today
Our North by North West newsletter makes the case against rushing to judge the former Countess of Chester execs in the wake of the Letby verdicts. Meanwhile, junior doctors have voted overwhelmingly to continue industrial action and have announced their first joint strikes with consultants.