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

Leaders in a spin

University College London Hospitals Foundation Trust chief executive Sir Robert Naylor has said that the leadership in the NHS is in “crisis”.

Speaking at an event debating the findings of HSJ’s inquiry into the future of NHS leadership, Sir Robert said: “I have five executive directors in my trust, all capable of being chief executives.”

This sounded good, but he continued: “They cannot find a job as there are no jobs that they want to do.”

A new chief executive could not possibly hope to succeed at a failing hospital while the revolving door for top leaders spins so quickly. “Churn is just another way of spelling crisis,” he noted.

Getting rid of the mothballs

A long running and controversial process to reconfigure vascular services in south Hampshire has resumed this week with the dispatch of a specialist team to assess services in Southampton and Portsmouth.

The review by the Vascular Society could recommend the creation of a single, specialist “arterial centre” by moving some services currently delivered by Portsmouth Hospitals Trust to University Hospital Southampton FT.

Previous proposals to transfer services from Portsmouth to Southampton have been mooted since 2008, but dropped following campaigns by patients and objections from Portsmouth.

A previous review into service changes, carried out by the Wessex Clinical Senate in 2013, recommended that “all emergency and elective major inpatient interventions” should be delivered at Southampton “as a matter of urgency”.

However, Portsmouth Hospitals objected to the move, warning of the impact on other services, and patients concerned about having to travel to Southampton for treatment, resulting in the proposals being mothballed.

HSJ understands that NHS England is keen for a resumption of a clear direction of travel for the shake-up.

Nurses vote with their feet

Nurses could “walk away” from the NHS if pay restraint continues for four more years - as the chancellor has in mind - the new chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing has told HSJ.

Janet Davies, who was appointed in June, also said the RCN would “be part of the discussion” on any future reforms to the Agenda for Change pay framework, which covers more than 1 million staff.

Ms Davies said the government’s policy to restrict public sector pay rises to 1 per cent for four more years was “causing huge problems for the way nurses feel they are valued”.

She added: “My biggest worry is that nurses are so fed up they are voting with their feet and leaving the profession. We have already seen the rise in nurses working for agencies.”

The Department of Health might also be worried, what with bringing down trust agency spending a priority.