The must read stories and talking points in the NHS

Warning flags

The Care Quality Commission has found patients are suffering from “physical, psychological and social harm” because they are waiting “far too long” for discharge from hospital into the community.

Its interim report into local reviews of how well health and social care work together “found examples of avoidable and unintentional harm” caused by a fragmented system.

CQC engagement director Chris Day said the report showed “the real costs of failure, the financial costs as well as the individual costs”. He said providers will be driven to work better with adult social care and primary care as they will find that is the only way they will achieve the savings the need to in what is a “difficult budgetary settlement”.

However, the regulator also raised questions on how well the problems it has revealed can be solved without more investment or a change in the way that providers and NHS oversight bodies operate.

It found a focus on DTOCs is “diverting attention from important issues” such as social care and GP capacity, both of which are needed to meet the health prevention and rehabilitation needs of local population. In addition, the CQC has serious concerns about workforce and social capacity, with the regulator asking national bodies to “address the risks to the social care market as a matter of priority”.

There were also fundamental worries about the targets being set by national bodies for each individual organisation. The regulator said the “narrow focus on achieving individual metrics” has “hindered” providers and commissioners coming together to join up care.

Despite these issues, the CQC will not be making any firm calls for change yet because it has only reviewed six of the 20 areas the Department of Health commissioned it to carry out. Mr Day said once the reviews are complete, in summer 2018. “there may be some more points [the CQC] wants to flag”.

CEO’s next ’port of call

A struggling acute trust has appointed a substantive chief executive after being run by interims for more than two years.

Silas Nicholls, previously the boss of University Hospital of South Manchester Foundation Trust, has been announced as the new chief executive of Southport and Ormskirk Hospital Trust.

The trust has had four interim chief executives since August 2015, when the previous substantive leader, Jonathan Parry, was excluded from work. He was sacked for gross misconduct in October 2016.

he trust’s future as an independent organisation has been unclear. Its turnover is less than £200m and it has planned a deficit of £18m in 2017-18. After six months of the year, it was £6m behind its financial plan.

It is also subject to a major review of services as part of the Cheshire and Merseyside sustainability and transformation plan.

Mr Nicholls will succeed Karen Jackson, who has been interim chief executive since April, early next year.