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Former nurse appointed new chief exec of hospital trust with 'significant challenges'

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A former nurse, Mark Cubbon, has been appointed as the new chief executive of Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.

Mr Cubbon, who will take up his new role on 31 July, first qualified as a nurse before moving into general and senior management roles within the NHS.

“The trust has some very significant challenges”

Mark Cubbon

Most recently he was the regional chief operating officer for the Midlands and East at the regulator NHS Improvement.

Mr Cubbon said he was “delighted” to be joining the trust but noted that it had “some very significant challenges”.

However, he added that, as part of his recruitment process, he met with many members of the trust’s team and was “struck by their passion and professionalism”.

“There is a lot of hard work going on and it is my job to ensure we are focused on the future, harnessing the talent and ambition of our staff for the benefit of patients,” said Mr Cubbon.

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust

Former nurse appointed new chief exec of Portsmouth trust

Mark Cubbon

“I am looking forward to working together to improve the services we provide,” he said. “This will require strong partnership working with our colleagues in social care and other NHS organisations, too.

“My role, with the support of the executive team, is to get those relationships right and ensure that we are well placed to provide the very best care for every patient, now and in the future,” he said.

Mark Nellthorp, the trust’s interim chair, said Mr Cubbon brought a “strong commitment to patient focussed care, informed by a wealth of clinical and leadership experience”.

“I am confident that he will have a huge positive impact and that he will help us to deliver the best for our patients during these challenging times,” he said.

In June 2016, the trust was given an “inadequate” rating by the Care Quality Commission, after unannounced inspections found serious performance problems.

The CQC said it found patients waiting on trolleys in corridors, frequent moving of patients at the night and patients being treated in a parked “jumbulance” – a super-sized ambulance.

The trust’s former chief executive, Ursula Ward, who also has a nursing background, resigned shortly before the publication of the CQC’s report.

She left the South coast trust in May last year after 12 years in the job, having joined as director of nursing and midwifery in 1999. She is currently chief executive of the nurse education and research charity the Florence Nightingale Foundation.

Although the trust’s accident and emergency is now rated requires improvement, its performance remains among the worst in England. Over the spring, it had the highest number of 12-hour breaches – known as trolley waits – of any trust, with 191 in March, April, and May, according to Health Service Journal.

Earlier this year, the CQC issued enforcement notices on the A&E amid concerns about overcrowding and staffing levels in the acute medical unit.

Several senior board level positions are currently filled by interims. In its latest board papers, published in May, the trust said it intended to recruit a substantive director of nursing.

Debra Elliott, the deputy director of nursing, is currently stepping up, with the support of Alison Fitzsimons, the associate director of nursing, and Gill Walton, director of midwifery and maternity services.

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