HSJ’s round-up of the day’s must read health stories

Estate of the nation

In an ideal world, sustainability and transformation plans would be driven by clinicians, designing the best possible model of care.

But in reality, some of the STPs will need to be “estates led”, due to horrendously high backlogs of maintenance problems on many hospital sites.

Much of the NHS’s secondary estate is unfit for purpose and unsuitable for further investment, and HSJ has mapped those health economies with the worst problems.

North west London has the largest backlog, which would cost nearly £1bn to address, while Derbyshire is at the opposite end of the scale, with outstanding work valued at just £11m.

Paul Fenton, chair of the Health Estates and Facilities Management Association and estates director at Ipswich Hospital Trust, is concerned that continuing demand pressures, which have seen dozens of trusts report operational problems in the last fortnight, will “hinder the ability to redesign the estate to enable the shift of care out of hospital due to the need to continue to deliver in the here and now”.

MP wants answers to manager mystery

Mystery still surrounds the extended leave being taken by Sir Leonard Fenwick, the long serving chief of Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals Foundation Trust.

Sir Leonard suddenly went on extended leave last week, with business and development director Louise Robson and medical director Andrew Welch acting up in his absence. Statements from the trut and NHS Improvement did not say why Sir Leonard had gone on leave, nor if or when he will return.

Now Nick Brown, MP for Newcastle upn Tyne East who has known Sir Leonard for around 40 years, has called on the trust to be more transparent and give a “reasonable explanation” for the current state of affairs.

He told HSJ: “I am not sure what the situation is or even what the current status of Sir Leonard is, but I would like some transparency and a reasonable explanation, and assurance that this is not harming the work of the trust. It shouldn’t be a mystery at all.

“I am going to write to the chair asking for a full explanation, asking what the present situation is with senior management at the trust.”