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Staffordshire trust announces departure of ‘inspirational’ nursing director

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Liz Rix is to step down as chief nurse of University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, it has been announced.

The trust described Ms Rix, who has been in post for seven years, as “inspirational” and praised her for her work on patient safety and reducing avoidable harms.

“Liz has nurtured a strong nursing family across the organisation”

Trish Rowson

She is also credited with helping oversee the creation of Royal Stoke University Hospital and the integration of County Hospital – formerly Stafford Hospital – into the organisation.

Ms Rix joined the organisation in 2009 when it was known as University Hospitals of North Staffordshire NHS Trust, prior to its takeover of Stafford Hospital in the wake of the Francis report into the high profile care scandal there.

She joined the trust from Abertawe Bromorgannwg University Trust, where she had held the roles of director of patient safety and director of nursing.

Ms Rix will now be returning to Wales and joining Hywel Dda Health Board in the west of the country as its new director of nursing.

She told Nursing Times that she planned to leave University Hospitals of North Midlands at the end of April. Interim nurse leadership arrangements that will be put in place on her departure from the trust while a permanent replacement is sought are yet to be decided.

“The NHS in Staffordshire is in a much better place since when she joined”

Paula Clark

The Staffordshire trust highlighted her role in “improving harm free care and promoting safe staffing levels”, with particular success in infection control and pressure ulcer reduction.

Under Ms Rix, the trust aimed to eradicate MRSA to zero by the time it moved into its new hospital in March 2012, which was achieved and low case numbers subsequently maintained.

Ms Rix also created a care “bundle” that specifically aimed to educate nurses how harms such as falls and pressure ulcers could be reduced.

The trust highlighted “staggering” success made against grade 4 pressure ulcers. It has not recorded a grade 4 pressure ulcer for more than four years, and other grades are also being reduced.

University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust

Trust announces departure of ‘inspirational’ chief nurse

Liz Rix

Trust chief executive Paula Clark said: “Liz is an inspirational leader who is respected locally, regionally and nationally.

“Whilst there will be huge sadness at Liz’s departure, the NHS in Staffordshire is in a much better place since when she joined and we should all be very grateful for her contribution,” she said.

Trish Rowson, the trust’s director of nursing, and quality and safety lead, described Ms Rix as a “true ambassador for the nursing profession”.

“She speaks with authority and passion, and is openly moved by the emotions of others demonstrating compassion and sensitivity,” she said.

She added: “Liz has nurtured a strong nursing family across the organisation with a culture of trust and openness.”

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