As 2019 comes to a close, HSJ takes a look back at the 50 most read stories of the year. 

The story which most caught readers’ attention during the year was NHS Improvement chief executive Ian Dalton’s shock stepping down in March, which coincided with Matthew Swindells’ post as NHS England deputy chief executive being disbanded and NHSE chief executive Simon Stevens taking over the leadership of both organisations. The shake-up at the top of the NHS is particularly noteworthy, as it has made Mr Stevens responsible for both controlling the provider sector deficit and improving care through commissioning

Technology is a reoccurring theme throughout the top 50. In January, HSJ revealed Matt Hancock’s plans to launch NHSX. The new digital unit signifies a revamp in the health service’s approach to IT, including scaling back the NHS App. Its establishment also came shortly after NHS England’s first chief digital officer announced she was leaving for digital GP company Livi

The long-running pensions crisis also crops up in the most read list. Changes to the pensions tax regime made in 2016 have led to higher earners in the NHS pensions scheme being hit with sizeable tax bills.This has, in turn, led to consultants reducing their hours — and, potentially, gaining a new perspective on work-life balance

Among these stories were several of HSJ’s investigations. In July, HSJ revealed how NHS England had covered up serious problems with paediatric cancer care in London with a former NHS medical director for London accusing NHSE, his former employer, of “burying” attempts to overhaul the services.

Meanwhile, in February, HSJ uncovered claims of bullying, favouritism and a “toxic” culture at Sheffield CCG. The CCG’s accountable officer Maddy Ruff resigned from the role in May.

You can read all of 2019’s top 50 here:

  1. Exclusive: Dalton steps down and Swindells under threat as Stevens takes over NHSI
  2. Three new integrated care systems announced
  3. Government announces plan to tackle NHS pension crisis
  4. Experienced CEO steps up to lead troubled trust
  5. NHSE/I reveal regional director teams
  6. ‘All-singing and all-dancing’ NHS App scrapped
  7. ‘Life is just too short,’ resigning trust CEO tells staff
  8. Two execs step down as mega-merger trusts rebrand
  9. NHS threatened with Spanish nurse exodus
  10. NHS England singles out failing mental health trusts
  11. What if the doctors never come back?
  12. Exclusive: Hancock’s ‘NHSX’ power grab for NHS England work
  13. Long-serving CEO switches to teaching hospital
  14. Departing CEO received £53k overtime payment
  15. Exclusive: NHS England ‘buried’ concerns over child cancer services
  16. NHS warned to act now on Australian flu
  17. 2019 HSJ Awards winners revealed
  18. Simon Stevens’ exit strategy
  19. Revealed: 275 jobs to go as NHS England and Improvement cut costs
  20. Revealed: Crisis at top CCG amid claims of bullying and ‘toxic’ culture
  21. Chief of ‘toxic culture’ CCG resigns
  22. Tragic death of 19-year-old ‘inextricably linked’ to four other fatalities
  23. Revealed: Collapsed private provider to the NHS owes £11m
  24. CEO chosen for new mega-trust
  25. ‘Bullying culture’ trust chief exec quits
  26. ‘Trendy’ leadership talk on Twitter goes unpractised, says NHS chair
  27. £920k payout in warring surgeons case
  28. Leaked blueprint reveals plan to centralise NHS procurement
  29. CCG rewrote mortality review to eliminate blame
  30. Dido Harding: Senior managers face ‘trial by HSJ’
  31. Sir David’s troubled trust rejects centre’s saving plan
  32. Mapped: Sweeping CCG mergers planned for next year
  33. Senior A&E medics ‘ashamed’ of trust execs
  34. Plan to break up CCG rejected
  35. NHS England digital chief moves to digital GP company
  36. ‘Couch to 5k’ among 10 apps pulled from NHS app library
  37. Exclusive: Hundreds of patients kept in ‘distressing’ dormitory-style wards
  38. Warning over NHS 111 role in teen’s death
  39. Second NHS manager re-employed shortly after redundancy
  40. Pay deal row erupts between government and NHS England
  41. Chief executive to leave troubled trust
  42. Second exec departure at struggling acute trust
  43. Exclusive: NHS money at risk as firm winds up subsidiary and changes name
  44. New chief executive ‘absolutely delighted’ as trust rated outstanding
  45. Revealed: The 20 capital projects promised by the PM
  46. Trust chair leaves three months early
  47. NHS England hired consultancy to find out what it is responsible for
  48. NHS England launches independent review of teen death cover-up
  49. CCG allocations revealed: The winners and losers
  50. Trust owed £46m by overseas private patients