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

NHS leadership is on the agenda. It’s the subject of a review by retired General Sir Gordon Messenger that is set to report in the coming weeks. The CQC’s chief inspector last month suggested fear of criticism puts off would-be leaders from taking on roles at the worst-performing trusts.

Now the chief executive of United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, Andrew Morgan, has said leaders who take on difficult jobs should be “cherished” not “pilloried” by regulators. The trust recently received a glowing report from the CQC that recommended it transition out of special measures, which it has been in since 2017.

Mr Morgan, who has been at the trust since 2019, told HSJ in previous roles he had faced situations “when you thought you were the solution but you became the problem [in the eyes of regulators]”.

In contrast, he says “great support” from regulators and the system have been key to improvements at United Lincolnshire, which has faced longstanding challenges with care quality in maternity and emergency services.

He said: “Those who do take on some of the more difficult jobs – of which there sometimes are many – should be supported [and] cherished, rather than pilloried on occasion.”

Playing it cool

The health secretary assured Radio 4’s Today programme that he was “not concerned” about the steady rise of covid positive patients to English hospitals.

The seven day total of new confirmed covid cases in hospitals on 12 March (the latest data available) stood at 9,642. This is 46 per cent higher than the seven day total of 6,612 recorded on 25 February, the day before the current rise began.

The rise in admissions began in South West, before spreading to the South East and London. Now, however, all seven English regions are showing weekly growth between 19 (Midlands) and 31 (North West) per cent.

Asked on Today on Monday about the rise in covid infections, health and social care secretary Sajid Javid said there was “nothing in the [covid] data that gives us any cause for concern”. Read our story with the full data here.

Also on today

In news, a privately run mental health hospital put in special measures last year has been rated “inadequate” again following a fresh CQC inspection, and don’t forget to read all about our Ukraine appeal and the offers that will be coming the way of the successful bidders.