HSJ’s daily digest of Tuesday’s significant developments for healthcare leaders

Oxford University Hospitals recruits its new chief executive from Belgium

A major NHS appointment was announced today: Bruno Holthof joins Oxford University Hospitals Trust, of of the UK’s most prestigious, as chief executive.

Dr Holthof will be relocating from Belgium – joining an increasing number of acute trust chief executives recruited from abroad, as HSJ correspondent Ben Clover notes:   

He was previously a partner with McKinsey’s Global Health Care Practice, and chief executive of the Antwerp-based hospital chain ZNA for ten years.  

Dr Holtof said he wants Oxford to “create breakthrough innovations that will improve the health of the local population and also have a global impact”. He also wants the trust to make use of “unprecedented change in the way healthcare is delivered” though applying technologies such as digitalisation, robotics and personalised medicine.  

HSJ correspondent David Williams observes:

Here’s HSJ editor Alastair McLellan’s take on the appointment:

Dr Holtof’s appointment was also welcomed by Care UK’s managing director Jim Easton, and former NHS regional chief, who tweeted:


Michael White boldly predicts general election outcomes

In his final weekly column for HSJ, the well respected Guardian political journalist Michael White decided to “do something foolish” and call Thursday’s election results.

With an influx of smaller parties, he writes that “much more than usual we will be voting blind, unsure what it will mean”.  

His “complaint against NHA activists on Twitter”, which “also applies to high minded Greens” has been that that in marginal seats they risk“[salving] their consciences at the price of replacing a pro-NHS Labour or Lib Dem MP with a Tory”.

He predicts that UKIP and the Greens will be “squeezed by the familiar binary choice” between David Cameron or Ed Miliband for No10, and would be lucky to get six seats between them.

White expects the Conservatives will gain more seats and votes than Labour, and David Cameron will “try to hang on to power, but maths may defeat him in the Commons”.  

Miliband warns of an NHS ‘financial timebomb’ with two thirds of trusts facing deficits

With less than two days to go until polling booths open, the NHS has once again featured prominantly in Labour’s campaign. Ed Miliband said the health service faces a “financial time bomb”, and pointed to figures showing two thirds of trusts project deficits this financial year, at a speech in Bedford today.

“Today we discover the financial time bomb under our NHS - savage cuts on the way at two-thirds of hospitals because of a cash crisis made in Downing Street,” he said.

“When the NHS is cut it’s working families who bear the brunt - that’s why we’ll keep going to the last minutes of the last hours of this campaign to rescue the NHS and stand up for working families.”

He acknowledged the race was “the closest we’ve ever seen in our history” so he would “keep going to the last minutes of the last hours of this campaign to rescue the NHS.”

His comments were splashed by The Guardian this morning, and were reported widely across national media.