HSJ’s roundup of Thursday’s top stories and talking points

The shaker uppers

“We need to up the pace” of provider sector reform, Jeremy Hunt said in HSJ’s exclusive interview on Wednesday.

And who can you always rely upon to shake up the provider sector?

Answer: Sir David Dalton.

Sir David’s Salford Royal Foundation Trust, and Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh FT are in talks about forging an “acute care collaboration” and submitted a bid to NHS England’s national vanguard scheme to kickstart the project earlier this week.

Meanwhile, Guy’s and St Thomas’ FT has also put forward an acute care vanguard bid – in partnership with Dartford and Gravesham Trust. If successful, the highly regarded London FT will share its clinical and management expertise with the Kent trust. It would also seek to create a “strategic clinical network”.

Mr Hunt partly wants providers to get a wriggle on because the NHS has “too many trusts”.

HSJ correspondent Will Hazell, embedded at the Commissioning Summit, found similar sentiment there:

The plans from Salford and WWL, as well as Guy’s and St Thomas’ and Dartford, won’t bring the trust count down, however, with mergers and takeovers not on any either agenda.

Time for a change of tune

When the six leaders of the NHS arm’s length bodies shared a stage at the NHS Confederation conference this year they were teasingly called a “boy band” (though no one would say who was Sporty Chief, Scary Chief, etc).

In an article for HSJ’s recently launched Women Leaders network, Jackie Daniels, chief executive of University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay FT, says that it’s time for the band to be broken up.

“The fact that all of the top appointments across the arm’s length bodies were men is worth working together to change,” she writes.

Ms Daniels believes there is a wealth of talent in the people operating “just below” board level and these emerging female leaders should be encouraged to grab top jobs, with coaching and mentorship crucial.

She says while opportunities have increased, women still need support to rise up the ranks. “I hear far too frequently women doubting their right to sit round the table as equal partners with men,” she says.  

Her own first board level job was a “steep learning curve” with the table surrounded by “older, white and male colleagues where the culture was, well, macho”. Hopefully not for much longer.