HSJ’s round-up of Monday’s must read stories

Changes at the top

HSJ has published its annual analysis of the top trust chief executives in the NHS – and there have been changes at the top, and significant new trends have emerged.

Three key themes are: how the top leaders are increasingly running more than one organisation; how influential CQC ratings have become; and how women may soon come to dominate the top ranks of the provider sector.

The most striking factor in the 2017 list is the trend for the best to be leading more than one organisation. Seven of the top eight have either successfully taken on a second trust, are doing so or about to do so – Basildon’s Claire Panniker is in charge of three and at least one other among the leading pack expects to be leading a group of four or more in the near future.

Jeremy Hunt told HSJ in September 2015 that CQC ratings had replaced foundation trust status as the “definition of success” for NHS trusts, which appears to have come to pass. Five of the 10 trusts awarded an outstanding rating now see their chief executive among the top 15, with three within the top five.

There are 22 women in the top 50, the same as last year. However, the number of female chief executives in the top 15 has risen from six to eight and those in the top 10 from four to five.

A sector split reveals the best showing for leaders of specialist trusts, perhaps reflecting the fact that they have a higher proportion of good or outstanding CQC ratings. Acute trust chiefs come next, followed by ambulance and mental health leaders. Birmingham’s Tracy Taylor is the only chief executive of a standalone community trust to make the top 50.

Regionally, the North is best represented, with 19 chief executives in the top 50. The Midlands and East region comes a close second with 15. The London and Southern regions trail behind with eight each.

Carter attacks consultants

Lord Carter has questioned why the NHS spent £640m on external management consultancies, describing the use of the firms as a personal “bugbear”.

The efficiency tsar said work to make the health service more productive had to be clinically led.

“I have got a bugbear with employing management consultants to solve problems in the National Health Service,” the Labour peer said last week.

“If I tell you, the year before last [2014-15] we spent £640m on them. I asked each of them to come in and tell me where not only had they analysed an issue but they had solved it, and would they come back to me and explain how they had solved it. I am still waiting for the calls.

“Within our great National Health Service many people are doing it right so the trick for us is how to take that and to push it back and share it with people in a constructive way, which is why it has to be clinically led.”