HSJ’s round-up of the day’s must read stories and debate

One in, one out

After two and half years in charge, Nick Moberly is stepping down as chief executive of King’s College Hospital Foundation Trust.

In his email to staff on Thursday morning he said “the world in which we operate has become ever more challenging”.

“Challenging” is certainly one way of describing the situation at the south London trust.

Mr Moberly’s announcement follows the public resignation of former chair Lord Kerslake last year when he accused the government of underfunding organisations like King’s.

In November, chief operating officer Jane Farrell and finance director Colin Gentile also left.

At next week’s board meeting, the trust’s forecast deficit is expected to worsen to more than £100m. Its most recent estimate was £92.2m – a position that had already been revised more than once. King’s was placed in financial special measures by NHS Improvement in December.

Meanwhile, another Shelford Group trust this week confirmed its new chief executive.

Former University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay FT boss Dame Jackie Daniel will be the CEO at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals FT, taking over from Sir Leonard Fenwick who was sacked for gross misconduct last year.

Pressure points

Performance against the four hour accident and emergency target dipped again in February to 85 per cent – its worst since records began – according to Thursday’s official data.

The overall performance figure set out in the NHS England numbers was only marginally lower than the 85.3 per cent recorded in January.

But it came despite a significant fall in emergency admissions from 525,897 to 476,800, suggesting a high level of acuity. Overall attendances also fell month on month from around 2 million to around 1.8 million attendees.

The figures follow Simon Stevens last week calling February the NHS’s “most pressured month ever” with flu, norovirus and “the beast from the east” exacerbating stress in the system.

HSJ ran stories about two trusts highlighting the difficulties facing the service.

At University Hospitals of Leicester Trust, a “significant number” of cancer operations were cancelled in early January due to winter pressures.

While Northampton General Hospital Trust declared the highest level of alert – OPEL 4 – for three days in a row. A spokeswoman said the provider was under “extreme pressure”. Its performance against the four hour target was at 78 per cent last month.