Is it out of the frying pan, into the fire for Good Hope Hospital?
Following the decision of Les Lawrence to step down as Chairman of the Heart of England Foundation Trust at the end of November the health services regulator, Monitor, is to use its powers to appoint Jacqui Smith to the role on an interim basis.
Under the proposals, she will be joined by Dame Julie Moore as interim Chief Executive. Both Dame Julie and Jacqui currently perform these roles at the neighbouring, high-performing University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB).
Jacqui Smith will continue in her role as Chair at UHB alongside her work at Heart of England. Dame Julie Moore will spend the vast majority of her time at Heart of England while fulfilling the Interim CEO role.
The proposal is currently with the board of Heart of England and will be presented to Monitor’s Provider Regulation Executive for final approval later this week.
Dr David Bennett, Chief Executive of Monitor, said:
“The financial position of Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust must be fixed. The trust must be in a position where it can provide the services that patients need for years to come.
“We hope that bringing in two experienced NHS leaders will help the trust transform itself into one that consistently gives the quality of care patients expect and lives within its budget.”
Good Hope Hospital
The key question is, as services across the city are rationalised and new leaders of HEFT are brought in to fix its financial position what effect will this have on Sutton Coldfield’s Good Hope Hospital?
Cllr Robert Pocock (Lab Vesey Ward) has described the situation as a possible “out of the frying pan, into the fire” scenario and that “…the whole management of HEFT and Good Hope within it, is in danger of descending into chaos”. Meanwhile campaign group Save Good Hope Local Services is calling for a public meeting:
“Following today’s (21 October 2015) very worrying news that the Chief Executive of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Dame Julie Moore) is being imposed upon the Heart Of England Trust as the new leader of this Trust, our Campaign Team are calling for a public meeting to be held in the very near future.
We think patients deserve an explanation and information in a clear, honest and transparent manner, as to what future plans for our local Hospital, Good Hope are and to have the opportunity to voice their opposition to any cuts to key local services, with the aim that this time, the Trust and local politicians who support them actually listen for once.”
Sutton Coldfield MP Andrew Mitchell commented:
“As I understand it the problems are more at Heartlands Hospital than at Good Hope, which has continued to receive increased investment in services and capacity over the last year.
“I continue to watch events at the Heart of England Foundation Trust carefully and note that the reserves of around £90 million will be helpful in the short term.”
So a case of out of the frying pan…? Or a possible blessing in disguise? What do you think?