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Sunday, April 14, 2024

South Tees hospitals NHS Foundation Trust experiences leadership shift amidst strategic changes

Rob Harrison, former managing director STHNFT. Image: STHNFT

Another senior figure has left the South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust after its former chief executive quit at the end of last year. 

Managing director Rob Harrison has taken up an interim MD role at the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust.

Stacey Hunter, new group chief executive, North and South Tees NHS hospital trusts

Mr Harrison was briefly CEO at South Tees in the intervening period after Sue Page left and before Stacey Hunter started work as the new group chief executive last month.

A new group model is being established to bring together South Tees and the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, which bosses believe will have strategic benefits and improve patient outcomes.

A single executive team is also being put in place with new appointments made under the auspices of a new group board.

A spokeswoman for the South Tees trust, which operates the James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, and the Friarage in Northallerton, said Mr Harrison had dedicated three and-a-half years to the organisation and “played a key role in moving forward ambitious plans for collaboration”.

Neil Harrison, managing director of the North Tees trust, is to take up a group managing director role on 5 April.

The spokeswoman said: “The trusts formed a joint partnership board in 2022 to guide the development of the group model and this will move quickly into a group board in spring 2024.

“The trusts will retain their own statutory boards, but will delegate as much as possible into the group board so that strategic decisions can be taken for the overall benefit of both trusts and the patients and wider population.

“The group board will also oversee the development and delivery of a joint clinical strategy.

“As part of the group arrangements joint executive appointments are already in place, or planned for the roles of group chief medical officer; group chief nurse; group chief finance officer; group chief people officer and group chief strategy officer.”

In 2021 NHS Improvement, the regulatory body for NHS trusts, decreed that both North and South Tees should work together in accelerating strategic integration to secure a sustainable future for key services.

But there have been tensions with several non-executive directors at North Tees, who challenged the proposals, resigning and a subsequent NHS investigation criticising the conduct of some individuals.

Sue Page, South Tees Hospitals NHS Trust former chief executive. Image: STHNFT

Ms Page spent four years at South Tees, overseeing the organisation moving from ‘requiring improvement’ to being rated ‘good’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

North Tees, meanwhile, was rated overall as requiring improvement following the publication of a CQC report in September 2022.

Together the two organisations have an annual budget of about £1.2bn and employ more than 15,000 staff.

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