Make sure you are up to date with the events of the last seven days with our insight into the stories that matter most

Stevens unveils 10 healthy new towns

Back in October 2014, the Five Forward View burst into life, and HSJ editorial pondered that “perhaps the most intriguing idea” in the plan was “healthy new towns”.

We predicted they would become known as “Stevenstowns”, after the NHS England chief executive, who last week unveiled the first 10 sites to be part of Healthy New Towns programme.

The areas across England areas will adopt planning policies that could include fast-food free zones near schools and dementia friendly streets.

Watchdog under fire over inaction

The Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman faced criticism from HSJ readers on Thursday after the latest revelation to hit the watchdog.

It has emerged that ombudsman Dame Julie Mellor was informed last year about her deputy, Mick Martin, being involved in the cover up of sexual harassment against an HR director while in his previous role at Derbyshire Healthcare Foundation Trust.

Dame Julie was sent a copy of an employment tribunal judgment which set out how Mr Martin helped to cover up the poor treatment of Helen Marks in July 2015. The ombudsman replied with a short letter saying she “noted” the comments.

HSJ editor Alastair McLellan tweeted the story, commenting: “The phrase ‘unsustainable position’ comes to mind.”

Readers were not impressed with the PHSO’s actions or its refusal to answer HSJ’s questions either, and on Monday HSJ called for Mellor and Martin to step down.

Concerns over national reporting of waiting times

It’s not often that an issue at a single trust calls into question a national dataset, but Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals is no ordinary trust.

The discovery of 1,015 patients who have waited more than a year for elective treatment raises concerns about national reporting.

The total for the east London trust is significantly higher than the total known figure for the entirety of England.

The trust is one of nine that do not report waiting times data for elective waits. If there is one non-reporting trust with a backlog this big, are there others? Does the centre know?

HSJ top chief executives revealed

HSJ has revealed the Top Chief Executives list for 2016, celebrating the NHS provider leaders whose contributions and vision stand out in challenging times.

Salford Royal Foundation Trust boss Sir David Dalton topped the list for the third year in a row but there are significant changes in the list compared to last year, with prominent chief executives stepping down and considerable turnover at the top of organisations.

In a sign of progress for equality in NHS leadership, 22 of the 50 leaders in the list are women.

Kirkup’s red flag on his recommendations

The man who led the investigation into care failures at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust has sent a clear message that more needs to be done to avoid a similar “avoidable disaster”.

Bill Kirkup has spoken to HSJ and criticised the lack of progress on key recommendations from his report ahead of the one year anniversary of its publication.

Out of 26 national recommendations there has been progress on only 10, he said on Wednesday.

Specialist vanguard breaks cover

An alliance of specialist trusts has revealed it could develop new “experimental tariffs” to encourage acute providers to improve or franchise their orthopaedics services as part of the Five Year Forward View’s new care models programme.

The National Orthopaedic Alliance is also developing proposals to “accredit” orthopaedic care against a set of standards it is defining, and plans to release a set of tools for trusts to use to improve their services as part of its vanguard work.

This is the first of the vanguards focused on specialist care collaboration to break cover and publicly set out an approach to supporting the wider system and franchising individual service lines.

NHS Improvement’s turnaround programme for 20 trusts loses grip

NHS Improvement really didn’t want much attention drawn to its turnaround programme.

This was conceived in 2015 but might be coming to a board room near you from April.

As we reported on Thursday night, the specifications are out and the people who designed them in Monitor/Trust Development Authority are very cagey about the project.

Why? Because it’s going to cost at least £10m, probably more, and will be deeply unpopular with the people running the 20 trusts where consultants will be sent to get help them grip on performance and governance issues. It could also look bad, after trusts were told to clamp down on the use of consultants for the regulator to then spend £10m on consultants.

Pay boost for non-executives?

Times are tight in the NHS, but surely the pay structure for non-executives of NHS trusts needs revisiting?

Letters obtained by HSJ reveal how the NHS Trust Development Authority lobbied government ministers to increase the standard rates for chairs at non-foundation trusts.

The rates for a trust chair range from £18,621 to £23,600 a year, whereas an FT chair can receive up to £67,500 a year.

If a trust wants to pay more than these rates it must be approved by the government. This means the chairs at some small but challenged trusts are currently paid more than their counterparts at some of the largest organisations in the country.

The letters suggest the Department of Health was receptive to the idea of increasing the standard rates, but the “timing was inappropriate”.