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A national investigation has been launched into the governance of a hospital trust after a mass walkout of non-executive directors.

Five of the six NEDs at North Tees and Hartlepool Foundation Trust resigned last week, reportedly in protest at efforts to merge its chief executive post with that of neighbouring South Tees Hospital FT.

NHS Improvement, which operates jointly with NHS England, has launched a formal investigation into the governance and leadership of North Tees and Hartlepool FT.

Labour MP for Stockton North, Alex Cunningham, has publicly called for the resignation of the joint chairman of the two trusts, Professor Derek Bell, who is said to be behind the merger plans.

North Tees and Hartlepool has said the ongoing row “has no impact upon patient care”.

The Russian connection

HSJ analysis has shown that at least 11 trusts have paid just over £4m to Russian government-owned energy supplier Gazprom this financial year.

Our research, which looked at NHS organisations’ published data on their payments of £25,000 or above, showed 17 paid the company £17m the previous year, 

Eleven trusts paid either Gazprom Marketing & Trading Retail Limited or Gazprom Retail Limited during the 2021-22 financial year. Most of them are based in the North West.

The data also shows 17 trusts paid the Gazprom companies during the 2020-21 financial year a total between them of £17.1m. The dataset also shows 12 trusts paid the companies a total of £16.7m during the 2019-20 financial year. Read our full story to see the list of trusts.

Also on today

This week’s North by North West asks what has caused the ongoing problems blighting ambulance handovers in the region, and in our comment section, Joe Harrison talks about the importance of getting the interface between sustainability and digital transformation right.