Friday, January 15, 2016

New Year, New Chief Executive for our local NHS Trust - let's make a fresh start.

Welcome to Stephen Eames, who took over on Monday as chief executive of the North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven and Carlisle's Cumberland Infirmary,

It was announced at the end of last week that Anne Farrar, the previous chief exec, was stepping down. The trust's medical director Jeremy Rushmer left in November.

The two hospitals are currently in special measures after being deemed to be failing by the Care Quality Commission. Last year the Government launched a new Success Regime to tackle deep-rooted problems in the north Cumbrian NHS.

Mr Eames has 25 years’ experience as an NHS chief executive. He was drafted in to Mid Yorkshire Hospitals three years ago to oversee major changes and improvements to services. Prior to this he was boss of County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, leading a hospital reconfiguration and bringing in community services.

He said: "Our attention over the coming weeks and months will be to work with the Success Regime to focus on addressing the ongoing, and longstanding, performance and financial issues alongside agreeing a long-term and sustainable clinical strategy fit for the future."

I hope that the appointment of Mr Eames is used as an opportunity to take stock and review the pattern of services, and to reconsider some of the decisions taken by the previous management. In particular I would like to see the new Chief Executive, the staff, and the community work together to bring medical and support services back to West Cumberland Hospital in a safe and effective manner.