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

Town hall takeover

The town hall takeover of NHS commissioning continues in Greater Manchester, where the chief executive of Bury Council is set to take over the reins of the borough’s clinical commissioning group.

Stuart North, Bury CCG’s accountable officer, is due to retire at the end of September, and is set to be replaced by Geoff Little, the council’s chief executive, who will perform both roles.

The proposed shared leadership model will mirror those in place in several other boroughs in the region.

The councils and CCGs in Tameside, Trafford, Rochdale, Wigan, and Oldham already all share a chief executive/accountable officer, which just leaves Stockport, Bolton, Salford, and the city of Manchester hanging on to a dedicated NHS leader.

With the future of NHS commissioning very much up in the air, national leaders will be paying close attention to developments in Greater Manchester, to see if the council-led model has legs.

Return to special measures

Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn Foundation Trust’s return to special measures after being rated inadequate by the Care Quality Commission is another alarming indication of the depth of problems in the Norfolk and Waveney health economy.

QEH has long struggled financially, like many small rural DGHs. It serves a large, sparsely populated rural area, and while its geographical location saves it from being downgraded, finding a sustainable model will continue to challenge system leaders.

The rating means two of Norfolk’s three acute trusts are in special measures following the health economy’s major provider Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals FT inspection result being published in June 2018.

The local sustainability and transformation partnership, chaired by former Labour health secretary Patricia Hewitt has much to ponder.