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

It is a bleak state of affairs when the true scale of NHS non-acute backlogs can only be revealed via leaks, especially when more than a million people are waiting for treatment – including hundreds of thousands of children.

An unpublished national waiting list for community services obtained by HSJ reveals key services for child development and speech and language therapy appear to be under the most pressure from backlogs post-covid. Three-quarters of a million adults are also waiting for a range of treatments.

HSJ understands the lack of national support for community and mental health care backlogs – in contrast to billions of government funding and a major recovery programme for elective consultant-led treatment – has been raised at a senior level in NHS England in recent weeks.

It comes amid a 1.6 million mental health backlog and a 100,000 autism assessment waiting list.

The impact of long waits on vulnerable patient groups cannot be understated. As HSJ has learned, a growing number of people on the autism assessment list are diagnosed while in crisis.

NHS leaders are now calling for properly resourced plans to drive down non-acute backlogs with the same urgency given to elective care.

What next for Tavistock and Portman?

A former regional director for London has been tasked with overseeing a trust’s “clinical improvement” after NHS England shut down one of its specialist services.

Emma Whicher, medical director for North Middlesex University Hospital Trust, is set to join the North Central London integrated care board on secondment shortly.

It is in her new role as clinical director of transformation that she will work closely with Tavistock and Portman Foundation Trust.

This comes after a review into the trust’s gender identity clinic for children and young people by Hilary Cass concluded a more “holistic” approach was needed.

TPFT has endured a turbulent 18 months in which it has come under significant scrutiny from both the media and the public.

In January, a review found “major” governance problems and “deep-seated” cultural issues, while NHSE downgraded the trust two categories in its latest strategic operating framework.

Concerns surrounding TPFT in recent times have raised questions about whether it will be merged with a neighbouring provider, which HSJ understands is being considered by some senior NHS figures.

Also on today

Former chair and owner of Plymouth Argyle Football Club James Brent has been appointed chair of University Hospitals Plymouth Trust. Meanwhile, GPs in Lancashire and South Cumbria have been angered by the decision to redraw the ‘place’ map.