Your essential update on health for the week

HSJ Catch Up

This weekly email gives HSJ subscribers a vital update on the biggest stories from the last week in health. If you have been out of the office or otherwise just too busy to keep up, HSJ Catch Up will ensure you are still in the know.

Warning flags from CQC

The Care Quality Commission has found patients are suffering from “physical, psychological and social harm” because they are waiting “far too long” for discharge from hospital into the community.

Its interim report into local reviews of how well health and social care work together “found examples of avoidable and unintentional harm” caused by a fragmented system.

CQC engagement director Chris Day said the report showed “the real costs of failure, the financial costs as well as the individual costs”. He said providers will be driven to work better with adult social care and primary care as they will find that is the only way they will achieve the savings they need to in what is a “difficult budgetary settlement”.

However, the regulator also raised questions on how well the problems it has revealed can be solved without more investment or a change in the way that providers and NHS oversight bodies operate.

Bullying scandal

More than half of NHS England black and minority ethnic staff reported being personally bullied by their line manager in an internal survey, HSJ revealed on Wednesday.

The “deep dive” survey of BME staff at the national commissioning body found 55 per cent of respondents had been bullied by a line manager since starting work at the organisation. It also revealed 36 per cent – or 58 out of 163 people – said they experienced bullying, harassment or abuse at work based on their race. As much as 87 per cent (98 people) said their ethnic background was a factor in unfair decisions about their career progression.

The survey, leaked to HSJ, asked staff a series of questions based on their experience since they joined the organisation.

New chief for London trust

If you wanted, you could see the late-year travails of south east London trusts as the curse of South London Healthcare Trust.

In 2013, Jeremy Hunt completed what Andrew Lansley started and formally dissolved the organisation, giving one of its hospitals to Lewisham, one to King’s and leaving the third to be managed as a kind of Switzerland with cantons run by different providers.

Lewisham’s absorption of the Greenwich part put non-payment of private finance initiative support, bizarre wrangles with commissioners and involvement with Circle and competition law on the board’s plate.

This is all by way of saying good luck to Ben Travis, the new chief executive at Lewisham and Greenwich Trust. The job was described by one figure in the system as “a difficult ask”.

CEO’s next ’port of call

A struggling acute trust has appointed a substantive chief executive after being run by interims for more than two years.

Silas Nicholls, previously the boss of University Hospital of South Manchester Foundation Trust, has been announced as the new chief executive of Southport and Ormskirk Hospital Trust.

The trust has had four interim chief executives since August 2015, when the previous substantive leader, Jonathan Parry, was excluded from work. He was sacked for gross misconduct in October 2016.

Getting back on track at Southern Health

Much like the train company with which it shares its first name, Southern Health Foundation Trust has attracted a lot of criticism in the last few years.

But a new leadership team is now in place – completed by the appointment this autumn of Nick Broughton as the new chief executive.

He took up his position in November and has highlighted staff retention as one of his top priorities, in an interview with HSJ this week.

It will be a difficult task for Dr Broughton and the leadership team, particularly when it comes to newer staff as the most recent figures show one in four staff who leave the trust do so within two years of joining.

Much work is needed to rebuild confidence among the workforce in the new leadership team following the headlines that dogged previous chief exec Katrina Percy and chair Tim Smart. Dr Broughton said the damage to Southern’s brand does not help the recruitment challenge.

Keeping the training wheels on

This week one of the most troubled trusts in the country had its Care Quality Commission rating upgraded from requires improvement after being rated inadequate last year.

Despite this achievement, NHS Improvement has decided to keep the Walsall Healthcare Trust in special measures, in the hope that keeping the training wheels on will help push the trust over a few more quality and safety jumps.

There are four other trusts rated requires improvement that are still in special measures and this may become a trend.

There is one hurdle in particular that is likely to have informed the regulators’ decisions: maternity services. The trust may have received good or requires improvement for most of its services but the CQC were scathing in its report on maternity services. This department was also the focus of the CQC’s last inspection and it seems the trust has been unable to make enough improvements to the service.