If you have a story call our newsdesk on 01722 426511 or email us. To advertise call 01722 426500.
Government role for former M&S boss
The former boss of Marks & Spencer is to advise the Government on how to turn around failing hospitals, the Health Secretary has announced.
Sir Stuart Rose will work on attracting and retaining top leaders to help transform the culture in under-performing hospitals.
He will examine ways to recruit talent from inside and outside the NHS and make leaders more visible to patients and staff, Jeremy Hunt said.
A separate review will look at how the NHS can make better use of its existing best leaders - so-called "superheads".
This could involve them taking on struggling organisations or establishing national networks of NHS hospitals and services to improve patient care.
Sir Stuart, who left M&S in 2010 and is chairman of Ocado, will particularly look at the problems facing the 14 NHS trusts currently in special measures.
All 14 are reported by the Department of Health to be making progress, including employing more doctors, nurses and new managers.
Sir Stuart, who will not be paid, said: "Clearly the NHS is a very different institution from M&S, but leadership, motivating staff and creating a culture where people are empowered to do things differently are crucial to the success of any organisation, and I'm looking forward to helping in any way I can."
Through a series of hospital visits, Sir Stuart will mentor NHS leaders and examine the challenges facing doctors, nurses and management boards.
He will work until the end of the year when he will submit a short report to the Department of Health.
Mr Hunt said: "Everyone wants the peace of mind of knowing their local hospital offers good care - so turning round hospitals where this is not the case is a critical priority for me as Health Secretary.
"Good care should never depend on your postcode, which is why new Ofsted-style hospital inspections are so important.
"But the difference between good and bad care can often lie in leadership, which is why I am delighted that one of the country's most inspirational leaders has agreed to advise me on how we can attract and retain the brightest and best managers into the NHS so we transform the culture in under-performing hospitals."
Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Sir David Dalton has been asked by the Government to look at how failing hospitals could benefit from being part of a national network, with access to the NHS's best leaders.
Mr Hunt said: " We can do more to exploit the extraordinary leadership in our best hospitals by making it easy for NHS superheads to take over struggling organisations.
"Sir David Dalton is one such leader, who with his team has turned the Salford Royal into one of the best hospitals in the country. He will advise me what more we need to do to enable our best hospital leaders to take over the running of hospitals in difficulty without compromising the success of their own trusts."
Shadow health minister Jamie Reed, responding to the Government announcement on NHS trusts in special measures, said: "These particular hospitals are struggling even more than most under this Government and extra support is welcome.
"When the trusts were put into special measures, David Cameron was told his inadequate staffing levels were to blame. He failed to heed that lesson and continued to preside over thousands of nursing job losses.
"The Government's re-organisation, nurse cuts and A&E crisis is making care problems more likely, not less."
Christina McAnea, head of health at Unison, said: "Leadership is, of course, important in any organisation and the NHS is no exception. Unison has always called for best practice to be shared across the NHS, but the Government's continued privatisation agenda and the cult of competition is the biggest barrier to achieving this goal.
"Instead of focusing on the cult of the individual, Jeremy Hunt would be better turning his attention to engaging with staff, patients and their families on how to improve NHS services.
"It is too easy to get caught up in so-called celebrity leaders and think they have all the answers. The NHS has already had its fair share of celebrities parachuted in with little effect.
"The truth is that the NHS is fundamentally different from the retail sector where customers can shop when and where they like. Patients come to the NHS when they are at their lowest ebb and feeling very vulnerable - they don't have a choice, they need treatment and turn to the health service to give them the care they need.
"It is time that the Health Secretary stopped courting celebrity, stopped passing the blame for his failure to get a grip on making changes to the NHS that would make a real difference."