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

It could be a tough winter in the South East. The second wave of covid may bring with it further restrictions and resentment from those who feel the state is going too far in restricting their liberty.

Refugees crossing the Channel in small boats have stirred passions among the far right. And the threat of a no deal Brexit is already leading to concerns about traffic jams making Kent impassable.

All of which could mean things could kick off… something which the region’s ambulance service is concerned could affect it and its staff. South East Coast Ambulance Service Foundation Trust has rated the risk of public disorder at a nine (on a scale running to 25) in its winter plan. Staff risk injury, fear, stress and fatigue if they become caught up in disorder, it says, potentially because they commit to an unsafe area because of “moral pressure”.

It might be farfetched to imagine the genteel inhabitants of sleepy market towns rioting in the streets this winter – let alone assaulting ambulance staff – but it is 2020 and stranger things have happened…

A parting shot

The NHS’ flagship strategy for reducing workplace inequalities may be reaching a critical juncture but its former director has issued a warning ahead of retirement.

In an exclusive interview with HSJ, Yvonne Coghill said the workforce race equality standard needs reviewing as some trusts are effectively gaming the system.

It is a considerable charge to levy and comes as the WRES sees its first major leadership change since being launched back in 2015.

Some may welcome the comments, while others might criticise it only being brought up now, but it has drawn quite a lot of attention among healthcare leaders.