HSJ’s roundup of the day’s must know stories

Staffing reviews proliferate

The debate around safe staffing already seemed overcrowded, but has now been joined by NHS efficiency tsar Lord Carter.

The Labour peer told HSJ he has started working with regulators to produce a “safe range” for staffing at a speciality level, which would help provide “air cover” when trusts faced inspection.

This follows a summer long controversy around the latest staffing guidance drawn up by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, which the Department of Health has ordered to be withheld.

Officials have said the NICE guidance will be rolled into an ongoing review by NHS England, but now Lord Carter says he wants to produce “much clearer” guidance, which is broken down for each speciality.

While clearer and more detailed guidance would be welcomed by many, it’s far from clear how these various reviews will fit together, and who trusts should listen to when deciding on their staffing levels.

What does it all mean?

HSJ’s Birmingham guru David Williams explains all, the day after we revealed University Hospitals Birmingham chief executive Dame Julie Moore would be extending her role to cover the same post at neighbouring acute Heart of England.

“The result of the move in Birmingham is that the high profile, outspoken Dame Julie is an even more powerful and influential figure in the acute sector than she already was,” Williams observes. “But success is not assured: turning around a deeply troubled organisation will be difficult enough without simultaneously running one of England’s top teaching hospitals.”

The move also reflects growing representation of women in NHS leadership in England’s second city: Two our of three clinical commissioning group bosses and four out of six provider chiefs in Brum are now women, we calculate.

Elsewhere, Alwen Williams has been confirmed as permanent chief at Barts Health Trust, another major acute provider.