Published: 15/01/2004, Volume II4, No. 5888 Page 6 7

The Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection has recruited its top team - and the appointments appear to illustrate CHAI's determination to cast aside the 'baggage' of its predecessor bodies.

CHAI announced three appointments this week. None of the five members of the top team so far come from the predecessor Commission for Healthcare Improvement or from the Audit Commission, whose value-for-money remit will be transferred to CHAI.

Health Development Agency director of communications Stacey Adams will become CHAI head of communications in March.

The other two directors have an industry background.

Mick Linsell, formerly operations director for the Royal Mail, this month joined CHAI as head ofcorporate services, responsible for personnel, finance, IT, purchasing and accommodation.

Lorraine Foley joined this week as head of information and analysis. She was previously head of electronic banking and cash management at the Royal Bank of Scotland, and has spent over a decade in banking.

CHAI had already appointed chief executive Anna Walker, currently director general of land use and rural affairs at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and head of operations Marcia Fry. Ms Fry was at the Department of Health before she joined CHAI on an acting basis.

One senior vacancy remains, for a director of strategy.

With none of CHAI's top team recruited from CHI, directors there are likely to stay in post until the end of March, when they will become eligible for redundancy.

Given the lengthy continuous NHS service of many of CHI's directors, some substantial payouts appear likely, unless equivalent roles can be found elsewhere.

Meanwhile, fears of large-scale redundancies from CHI appear to have been avoided. Staff are due to hear this week how the 'jobmatching' process to transfer them into roles at CHAI will work.

Unison, which is carrying out negotiations for staff, had feared up to 100 staff would be left jobless.

Unison regional organiser Phil Thompson told HSJ that CHAI's original structure, issued last autumn, would have left 100 CHI staff without a role.

Negotiations and further drafts over the last two months have increased the total number of jobs by the same number - and now 'less than a handful' of CHI specialists will face redundancy, Mr Thompson said. Staff expect to hear full details of the job-matching process by the end of this week.

lCHI has responded to criticism from an acute trust chief executive over the star-ratings system in last week's HSJ.

Portsmouth Hospitals trust chief executive Alan Bedford said the announcement of changes in the 2003-04 key indicators nine months into the performance year had left the star-ratings system discredited. He suggested it would be difficult to motivate staff, who had worked on reducing cancelled admissions all year in the belief it was a key indicator.

It has now been dropped and replaced by an indicator on booked admissions.

Mr Bedford also claimed the DoH had given advice that the indicators would remain unchanged.

But this week CHI disputed this, and said that keeping the system unchanged would have reduced its credibility.

A spokesman said: 'We are certain the DoH, the strategic health authority - and certainly CHI - have never said the star-ratings would remain unchanged. That would discredit the system.'

He also pointed out that the target to reschedule cancelled admissions within a month was a government 'guarantee' for March 2004, regardless of its place in the ratings indicators.