Oxford University Hospitals Trust has appointed Bruno Holthof as its new chief executive, plus the rest of today’s news and comment

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6.45pm Here’s HSJ’s daily digest of today’s significant developments for healthcare leaders.

Today’s must know story is Oxford University Hospitals appointing Belgian Dr Bruno Holthof as its new chief executive.  

Today’s inspiration comes from East Midlands hospitals getting to grips with the challenges - and costs - of seven day services.

Veteran political journalist Michael White brings today’s talking point with his four election predictions.

4.00pm The BBC reports that up to 86 per cent of ovarian cancers could be detected by regular blood tests earlier than the point at which they would ordinarily be diagnosed, a national trial has found.

Professor Patrick Maxwell, of the Medical Research Council, said: “These exciting initial results could eventually go on to form the basis of a national screening programme for ovarian cancer.”

3.45pm HSJ correspondent Shaun Lintern has made a few observations on the final NHS workforce data published before the general election:

To see the full results, you can download the spreadsheet here.

3.27pm Oxford University Hospitals Trust has appointed Bruno Holthof as its new chief executive.

He will join the trust on 1 October, succeeding outgoing chief executive Sir Jonathan Michael, who is retiring. Sir Jonathan had held his position since 2010.

Dr Holthof was previously a partner will McKinsey’s Global Health Care Practice, where he advised medical and health organisations across Europe and in the United States. He worked with pharmaceutical, life science and medical equipment companies, where he advised on organisational strategy and design, and integration and innovation in healthcare provision.

He was served as chief executibe of ZNA, a network of general and specialised hospitals in and around Antwerp, for the last ten years. Under his leadership, ZNA has come to be recognised as one of the best performing healthcare systems in Europe.

He holds an MBA from Harvard University and a PhD in Health Economics from the University of Leuven in Belgium, in addition to completing his medical training.

Dr Holthof said he was “honoured to be appointed” to his new role.

“Oxford has the talent and technology to create breakthrough innovations that will improve the health of the local population and also have a global impact,” he added.

“Over the next decade we will see unprecedented change in the way healthcare is delivered, through the application of digitalisation, robotics and personalised medicine.

“Together with colleagues at Oxford University Hospitals, the University of Oxford and other partner organisations, I look forward to ensuring these technologies are used to support the Trust as we continue to provide compassionate and excellent care to our patients and service users.”

1.55pmI haven’t called an election wrong since 1959, but this time I am unsure of Thursday’s outcome or the turbulent aftermath,” writes Michael White in his last weekly column for HSJ.

Michael White’s column will be published monthly from now on.

1.24pm An independent review of more than a dozen mental health patient deaths has criticised an NHS trust for what it described as ‘unacceptable’ bed management practices.

It also found “deficiencies in assessing, recording or addressing risks” in more than half of the 19 incidents involving patients from the Camden and Islington Foundation Trust that occurred between November 2013 and May last year.

12.59pm EXCLUSIVE: Hospitals in the East Midlands are struggling to meet new clinical standards for seven day services even during normal weekday hours, according to a region-wide analysis.

The report by the East Midlands Clinical Senate also estimated the cost of achieving a seven day service across trusts in the region could be more than double previous calculations.

The document, seen by HSJ, said achieving the NHS England mandated standards was a “significant challenge during core hours” for the region’s 10 acute trusts. It said this became more difficult out of hours and at weekends.

11.32am The chair of East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust has retired.

Nicholas Wells had expected to retire in August. However, in February he announced he would retire at the end of April.

This earlier departure was “primarily driven by the benefits to the organisation of having a new chair in place in the spring”, he said.

The trust has not yet appointed a new chair.

11.21am In the King’s Fund blog, senior fellow David Buck looks at the “almost total silence on public health” during the election campaign, despite parties vying with each other on NHS funding.

11.00am Returning to the general election, television chef Delia Smith has publically backed the Labour party, citing concerns that the NHS is “grave danger”, The Daily Mail reports.

Speaking at a Labour campaign event in Hove, East Sussex yesterday, she said: “When my mother was five years old, her mother lost an 18-month-old baby who got pneumonia, and simply couldn’t afford to get him help.

“So, all the way through my life my mum has always brought me up in awe of the National Health Service.”

She added: “The year the Labour Party brought in the health service we had a big poster in our front room with a light behind it saying, “Vote Labour to create a national health service”.”

10.55am The Daily Mail reports that at least 17 hospital trusts are routinely using security staff to restrain dementia patients if they become distressed on wards.

Former care services minister Paul Burstow criticised the practice as “completely unacceptable”.

He told The Mail: “If the distress and confusion often associated with dementia is routinely managed through physical restraint rather than skilled care that is completely unacceptable.

“Every nurse and doctor should be trained to offer the best care to people with dementia, and hospitals who rely on security staff rather than health care staff to treat the most vulnerable should be held to account.”

An NHS England spokesman said the organisation was looking “to identify policies and practices to minimise the use of physical restraint” and to “support NHS staff to develop a better understanding of alternative ways of supporting people with challenging behaviour”.

10.44am There are only two days left to nominate your top patient leaders.

HSJ’s first Patient Leaders awards will identify and celebrate 50 foremost patient and citizen leaders who are improving and transforming healthcare.

We recognise leadership in all contexts within the health sector - be it female leaders, topmost provider chief executives, rising stars, clinical leaders, black and minority ethnic pioneers or top innovators.

HSJ, in association with NHS England, has launched Patient Leaders - a project to seek out and celebrate 50 patients, service users, or other members of the public who are playing a role in designing and delivering health services. The work will culminate in a celebration of the individuals in July.

The impact of patient leaders on health services cannot be overestimated. We need your nominations to recognise this contribution.

We will recognise the full breath of patients and citizens’ role in healthcare - from shaping national policy and influencing the NHS nationally, to individuals making waves through being involved in their own care.

We will also identify individuals who are having an important influence on the development of health services. These figures could be drawn from diverse backgrounds, be it individual patients, established leaders in large charities, or those making a difference through community groups. They could also include campaigners and even entrepreneurs developing innovative services based on their experience.

A panel of experienced and expert judges will decide on the final list which will appear online and in print in HSJ during Patient Safety Congress (6-7 July), which will also celebrate clinical leaders and best places to work in healthcare.

We are looking for people who you believe fulfil one or more of the following criteria:

  • Impact: has the individual’s efforts made a demonstrable difference to the area in which they operate?
  • Innovation: are the ideas and/or actions they are promoting novel and likely to improve the design and delivery of health services (for example, by raising the profile of a previously neglected area)?
  • Inspiration: has the leader’s work inspired others - for example, by encouraging other patients to become more involved in their own care or design and delivery of health services?

You can make nominations using the form below. Please give the person’s name and job title and a brief description of why you think they are one of healthcare’s top clinical leaders.

Nominations close on 6 May.

Click here to make a nomination.

10.31am The Guardian reports that UK Women are more than twice as likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth as those in Poland, Austria or Belarus, according Save the Children.

The UK was placed 24th in the charity’s annual State of the World’s Mothers report. It has not made the top ten since 2012.

This year’s report found that women in the UK face a one in 6,900 lifetime risk of maternal death, in contrast to much lower figures in Poland (one in 19,800), Austria (one in 19,200) and Belarus (one in 45,200 in Belarus).

Factors linked with high risk pregnancies in the UK include obesity, IVF, social deprivation, multiple pregnancies, increased maternal age and poorer access to healthcare, particularly in some ethnic minority communities and among asylum seekers.  

10.00am Good morning and welcome to HSJ Live.

Two days before the general election, we start with warnings Labour leader Ed Miliband that the NHS faces a “financial bombshell”, with two thirds of trusts projected to run a deficit this financial year.

Mr Miliband: “Two-thirds of hospitals face having to make swingeing cuts, not at some point in the future but this year because of a cash crisis made in Downing Street.”

His comments appear on the The Guardian’s front page this morning, and have been reported widely across national media.