The Chairman and Chief Executive of Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust today announced they were leaving the organisation.
Alan Rose and Frank Sims said they were standing down to help accelerate a long-term partnership between the Trust and The Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust.
Mr Rose has resigned and Mr Sims will be taking up a secondment with NHS Improvement, which was created on 1 April, bringing together Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority.
The Colchester and Ipswich trusts have been working collaboratively since the beginning of the year and on 28 April NHS Improvement and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) jointly recommended they set up a long-term partnership as the only way of securing services for patients long into the future.
Mr Rose, who became Chairman on 1 April 2015, and Mr Sims will be replaced with immediate effect by David White and Nick Hulme who are the Chair and Chief Executive respectively of Ipswich Hospital and who will also continue in those roles.
Mr Sims, who has been Chief Executive since 19 October last year, said he and Mr Rose were stepping aside because they believe that the partnership between Colchester and Ipswich needs a single Chair and Chief Executive.
“Under our leadership, the Trust has made improvements across the organisation, thanks to our magnificent staff,” he said. “This has recently been publicly acknowledged by the Chief Executive of NHS Improvement.
“We believe that Colchester is not clinically and financially sustainable in its current form and have been working with senior leaders at Ipswich to see if there is an opportunity for both organisations to work more closely in clinical collaboration.
“Now is the right time to accelerate that partnership which we are confident will result in benefits for patients in Colchester and north east Essex and patients in Ipswich and east Suffolk.”
Mr Rose said: “In my year as Chairman, I have been impressed by the improvements and consistency that our staff at Colchester are increasingly achieving.
“I am confident that the plans to partner more closely with Ipswich Hospital will be an important step towards greater sustainability and quality of services across the communities we each serve.”
Mr Hulme praised Mr Sims and Mr Rose for the improvements that Colchester has made under their leadership.
“I know that Frank and Alan have been deeply committed to improving care for the communities this Trust serves,” he said. “Together, with all of its staff, they have started a journey to deliver safe, high quality compassionate care.
“My task is to take this ambition and together with all of the staff, volunteers, Council of Governors, all of our stakeholders and the communities, deliver lasting and sustainable improvements.”
There are many opportunities for clinical collaboration in order to achieve benefits for patients in both areas and long-term clinical and financial sustainability for both organisations, he added.
Mr White said: “I am looking forward to the challenge of leading the development of much stronger ties between these two very important hospital trusts.
“The partnership will focus on improving patient care, learning from each other and ensuring the overall clinical and financial viability of acute health services to local people.
“I am a great supporter of a more integrated approach to service planning and delivery in line with the NHS Five Year Forward View.”
Mr White has extensive leadership experience as both a chief executive and non-executive director in the public sector.
He moved from Nottinghamshire to live and work in Suffolk in 1994 as Chief Executive of Suffolk Health Authority, a post he held until 2002. He was then Chief Executive of Thurrock Council for four years until 2006 followed by six and a half years as Chief Executive of Norfolk County Council. He retired in April 2013.
Colchester is now collaborating closely with Ipswich Hospital and NHS Improvement to work out the details of the partnership and how the arrangement will best maximise benefits for patients in north east Essex and east Suffolk.
Welcoming Mr White and Mr Hulme to Colchester, David Linghorn-Baker, Lead Governor at Colchester Hospital Trust, said: “Alan’s chairmanship has been commendable. His immense enthusiasm, dedication and hands-on approach have brought the Trust on a significant journey of culture change and organisational stability in a short space of time.”