THE CHAIRMAN of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has announced today (January 5) he intends to step down from his position in just two months time.
Harry Turner, who has served the trust for seven years, will leave in March with Chris Tidman due to continue in his role as chief executive where he will be responsible for ensuring the progress to improve performance and finances is maintained.
Mr Turner made the decision to ensure that a long-term appointment can be made to lead the Trust through its next stage of its development.
The news comes just weeks after Save the Alex (STA) campaigners called on Mr Turner to resign in the wake of a damning report which branded the organisation he heads as ‘inadequate’ and which needed to be put in special measures.
Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) highlighted a series of concerns following an official visit to the trust in July.
These included an over reliance on agency staff, in particular temporary doctors, and a lack of consultants in Accident and Emergency.
They also hit out at overcrowding in A&E and found the mortality rate in the trust’s hospitals ‘significantly higher’ than expected.
In addition they raised concerns over the lack of stability in the trust’s leadership with nearly all the board members on interim contracts.
Speaking on Mr Turner’s decision, STA chairman Neal Stote said: “It is about time, particularly after the CQC report which highlighted the inadequacies.
“His position had become untenable but what is most concerning is there doesn’t seem to be a real change at the top, we need a major change.
“The trust is brand damaged beyond repair and that is no reflection on frontline staff, they are in an impossible position.”
Mr Stote added he is surprised at the TDA’s comments referring to Mr Turner’s strong leadership after the report drew attention to the ‘inadequate’ leadership.
He said: “That was put down to the difficulties of interims but all of the full time board members have either left or are off sick – I think that says it all.
“Hopefully this will be a new chapter for the Acute Trust, at the Alex and throughout the wider county.”
Speaking on his decision to step down, Mr Turner said: “I have the utmost respect for everyone working in our hospitals, their dedication and commitment is phenomenal, and it is an honour to have worked alongside our staff.
“I feel it is the right time for new, long-term board leadership and I am confident that the work already underway will ensure that we continue to improve service delivery and patient experience month-on-month.
“Critical to my decision was the staff and our patients and how the organisation needs stability over the longer term.
“Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust is a great place to work and I am confident that under Chris’ leadership and the senior executive team’s expertise the organisation will continue its improvement journey at pace and make the changes much needed across the county.”
Jeffrey Worrall, portfolio director at the NHS Trust Development Authority, added Mr Turner should be commended for his dedication and strong leadership of the trust during very challenging times.
Mr Turner’s decision comes the day after the three MPs in the south of the county, Harriet Baldwin (Malvern), Mark Garnier (Wyre Forest), Nigel Huddleston (Mid-Worcestershire) and Robin Walker (Worcester) urged health chiefs to get on with the job of sorting out the future of the NHS in Worcestershire.