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

Very soon after the departure of its chair, one of the country’s most high-profile mental health trusts is saying goodbye to its CEO Paul Jenkins.

His retirement after eight years means Tavistock and Portman Foundation Trust is about to usher in a new era, as former Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear CEO John Lawlor arrives in June and a new CEO is expected later this year.

Mr Lawlor is replacing Paul Burstow, who announced his departure last week after two terms.

The shake-up in leadership comes at a critical juncture for the trust, following several months of intense scrutiny.

Findings of an external review into its leadership found “deep-seated” cultural problems and “multiple” governance issues, including reluctance of staff to speak up after a high-profile employment tribunal.

And its controversial gender identity unit continues to face national criticism in an ongoing independent review after being rated “inadequate” by the Care Quality Commission in October 2020.

The new leadership team will take up the mantle of adjusting the service model for the country’s only specialist gender identity service for children and young people.

It may prove an impracticable task, as pressure builds for a review of the impact of gender dysphoria treatment on children.

Farewell to ‘command and control’

NHS England has lessened its alert level in response to covid-19 – and told hospitals to get visiting rules back to “pre-pandemic” levels.

NHSE chiefs Amanda Pritchard and Sir David Sloman have dropped the health service’s threat level from a “level four” to a “level three” incident.

The previous “level four incident” required NHSE to “command and control” NHS resources in response to the pandemic. The new “level three” incident, however, requires a response from a number of organisations within an NHS region.

A letter from Ms Pritchard and Sir David on 19 May also reminded hospitals to “begin transitioning back towards their own pre-pandemic [or better] policies on inpatient visiting and patients being accompanied in outpatient and [urgent and emergency care] services”.

They told trusts their default position should be “no patient having to be alone unless through their choice”.

Also on today

This week’s Health Check podcast looks at the “jeopardised” new hospitals programme, and Julian Patterson helps us finish the week with a list of board games and other pastimes that might appeal to an NHS audience…