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

It is unlikely the NHS will return cancer treatment waits to pre-covid levels by next March, a national cancer leader has said.

Liz Bishop, who sits on NHS England’s national cancer board, made the admission at the HSJ Cancer Forum when asked if the service would return to “business as usual” on performance next spring.

She said: “I think it depends on what you mean by ‘business as usual’.

“If you mean hitting the 62-day numbers, and the 104-a-day numbers, by next March, then no. If I’m honest, I don’t think we will.

“Do I know when that date will be? No, I don’t know. But what I do know is that everyone is working really hard to do it and get there.”

NHSE initially said the number of patients waiting longer than 62 days for treatment post-urgent referral would return to pre-covid levels by March this year, but that was pushed back 12 months.

It comes as ministers consider tougher cancer diagnostic targets after the health and social care secretary Sajid Javid declared a “war on cancer” in February.

The current target is for 75 per cent of cancers to be diagnosed at stages one and two by 2028.

A whole lot of complexity Brewin

It’s all change for Nottinghamshire. After almost four years leading Nottinghamshire Healthcare Trust – and almost 30 in the NHS as a psychiatrist – John Brewin is to retire this August.

Dr Brewin’s departure will see a new leader at each of the three trusts within Nottinghamshire ICS before the year is out, adding to the complexities of integrated working.

But as Nottinghamshire is already a well-established system, perhaps this will stand them in good stead for the no doubt challenging months ahead.

The trust has advertised for the post with final interviews to take place in July and said it is searching for an “inspirational and values-led chief executive who is committed to tackling inequalities in healthcare outcomes, experience and access”.

Also on today

In London Eye, Ben Clover warns what might happen if NHS England fails to start publishing the priority scores for elective waits, and in a comment piece, Louella Vaughan weighs the impact on the medical community of The General Medical Council’s updated standards for Good Medical Practice.