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

Medway Foundation Trust had a rough time during covid. The Kent variant left it struggling to cope in the last quarter of 2020 with, at one point, half of its beds occupied by covid patients.

So it is not really surprising that a Care Quality Commission inspection found some issues with its infection prevention and control. The trust has been under enormous pressure and it is likely that some things slipped.

However, it is more surprising that the issues seem not to be on the “shop floor” but to be ones of governance and leadership. The CQC was critical of the lack of comprehensive governance structures and said it was not clear “if the trust board was fully sighted on IPC issues”. It also raised concerns about attendance at the key IPC committee and what was sometimes missing from the agenda.

In contrast, there were few criticisms of what staff were doing – although there were some facilities problems. The culture was also described as “open”, with staff generally being able to raise concerns. And the issues in governance do not seem to have led to failings in IPC which affected patients – which can only be a good thing.

So it is hard to be certain what the report says about the trust. It has improved over the last few years – first under Lesley Dwyer and then James Devine – but that improvement is not universal and there seem to be areas which will still need attention.

In particular, the report suggests there may still be some way to go in ensuring its general governance and procedures are up to scratch. New chief executive George Findlay will undoubtedly be reading the report closely and looking for wider lessons.

The bill must go on

The new health secretary’s hope of delaying the sweeping health and social care bill has been quashed by Number 10.

The government will press ahead with the legislation before Parliament’s summer break, it has said, despite concerns from Sajid Javid.

Until Matt Hancock resigned on Saturday, he was planning to introduce the bill this week or next, so it could pass the crucial stage of a Commons second reading this month.

Mr Javid, who took over as health and social care secretary, was reviewing the legislation. The Times today revealed he has written to the prime minister outlining concerns about the bill and proposing it is delayed, but has been overruled by Number 10.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman confirmed to HSJ that it was pressing ahead with introducing the bill before summer.