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Foundation trusts create joint executive board, with one director of nursing

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A single executive management team has been appointed to run two acute foundation trusts – City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust and South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust.

Melanie Johnson, nursing and patient experience director at City Hospitals Sunderland, will cover both trusts under the joint leadership plan.

The new South Tyneside and Sunderland Healthcare Group executive board will be responsible for running all hospital and community services at South Tyneside and City Hospitals Sunderland FTs, serving 430,000 people across both patches.

Plans for the new board were announced in August, but the new 12-strong executive management team, made up of directors from both trusts, went live on 21 November.

It follows the chief executive of City Hospitals Sunderland Ken Bremner being appointed leader of both trusts in September, with South Tyneside’s Steve Williamson deputy chief executive. The joint board includes two medical directors – one from each trust – but only one nursing director.

But leaders of both trusts have stressed it will not trigger a merger, with the boards of each trust holding the joint team to account. The trusts already jointly provide some clinical services such as stroke and paediatrics.

City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust

Single nursing director for two acute trusts in North East

Melanie Johnson

The new management structure is intended to drive significant financial savings in back office and clinical services, improve quality and safety for patients, provide greater flexibility in managing pressures across the system and support for the transformation of local services.

Earlier this year, the trusts formed an alliance to look at jointly providing some clinical services as it was “no longer safe or sustainable” to duplicate provision in each location.

The alliance is also included in the Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and North Durham sustainability and transformation plan, as one of the ways to improve services, make back office efficiency savings and share best practice.

The trusts have already announced a series of reviews of all services with stroke, trauma and orthopaedics, paediatrics and obstetrics and gynaecology already underway. Two reviews of diagnostics including radiology will also take place.

According to Nursing Times’ sister title Health Service Journal, the reviews will consider a number of options for reconfiguring the services, ranging from standardising clinical policies across both trusts to consolidating the service across the region to a single site.

This could lead to closer links between services across the two sites, or consolidating services into a single site. The intention is specialties will be prioritised which have had problems in recruitment, achieving safety standards, or difficulties providing 24/7 services and seven day working.

The changes are intended to lead to a focus on emergency surgery and complex care at Sunderland Royal Hospital, with South Tyneside concentrating on out of hospital rehabilitation and diagnostic and screening services, as well as taking the lead on community services.

New single executive management team

  • Ken Bremner, chief executive (CHS)
  • Steve Williamson, deputy chief executive (ST)
  • Neil Mundy, chair (ST)
  • John Anderson, deputy chair, (CHS)
  • Julia Pattison, finance director (CHS)
  • Melanie Johnson, nursing and patient experience director (CHS)
  • Ian Martin, medical director (CHS)
  • Shahid Wahid, medical director (ST)
  • Peter Sutton, planning and business development director (CHS)
  • Carol Harries, corporate affairs and legal director (CHS)
  • Kath Griffin, HR and organisational development director (CHS)
  • Sean Fenwick, operations director (CHS)
  • Andy Hart, IMT director (CHS)
  • Bob Brown, quality director (ST)
  • Allison Thompson, non executive director (ST)
  • Mike Davison, non executive director (CHS)
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