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Birmingham hospital trust appoints its midwifery director as new chief nurse

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Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust has appointed Elaine Newell as its new chief nurse.

She has been acting chief nurse since December last year and was given the job after an external process overseen by NHS Improvement.

“Elaine will bring a distinctive and professional voice”

Toby Lewis

Ms Newell is the former director of midwifery at the trust, and has been credited with transforming standards of care within maternity services.

The trust, which runs Sandwell, City and Rowley Regis Hospitals, was rated as “requires improvement” overall by the Care Quality Commission, following its last comprehensive inspection over two years ago.

However, it was rated “inadequate” for being safe, as were its outpatients services. In contrast, maternity and intensive care were the only services rated as “good”.

One of the key areas where the trust was told that improvements were needed was on nurse staffing levels, according to the inspection report, which was published in March 2015.

It was told to review the levels of nursing staff across all wards and departments to ensure they were safe and met the requirements of the service.

“I believe we have a nursing team to be proud of and I will continue to work with them”

Elaine Newell

Commenting on Ms Newell’s appointment, trust chief executive Toby Lewis said: “Elaine will bring a distinctive and professional voice reflecting the concerns and hopes of our patients and their carers.

“I have every confidence that she can drive the recruitment and retention of nurses and midwives,” he said.

He added: “During her tenure we have seen a transformation in standards of care for women in the maternity service and she leaves the service in a very strong place to develop further, with a good rating from the CQC, and the board investing further to try and reduce perinatal mortality.”

Commenting on her appointment, Ms Newell said: “I am delighted to be given the opportunity to lead the nursing profession at the trust as we work towards the opening of the new Midland Metropolitan Hospital.

“Whilst I am fully aware of the challenges within the NHS at this time, I believe we have a nursing team to be proud of and I will continue to work with them to improve the experience of patients and carers within our organisation,” she said.

She replaces Colin Ovington who had been at the trust since 2013. He temporarily joined the regulator NHS Improvement as the senior clinical lead for the West Midlands on 3 January and will move on to become interim director of nursing at Shrewsbury and Telford hospitals NHS trust starting on 6 March.

Previously, Mr Ovington had been director of nursing at the former Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, where he has been part of the leadership team charged with rebuilding its service quality and reputation following the high profile care failings there.

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