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Former nurse and midwife stands down as trust chief exec before CQC report

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Karen Baker, a former nurse and midwife, stood down from her role as chief executive of the Isle of Wight NHS Trust on 31 March, ahead of expected criticism from regulators.

The trust is awaiting its latest report from the Care Quality Commission, which is expected to be critical of the organisation, which provides an integrated service model for the island.

“I do not want questions about my own position to detract from these important messages”

Karen Baker

The trust was rated as “requires improvement” in its last overall inspection report, published in September 2014.

In a statement, Ms Baker said: “I have been the chief executive of this NHS trust for almost five years and I am proud of the progress we have made in many areas during that period.

“It is true, however, that the NHS on the Isle of Wight – like the NHS elsewhere – faces many big challenges and it is clear to me that we have not always provided the quality of care the public expects.

“I am very sorry about that and as chief executive I take my full share of the responsibility,” she said. “I now feel that after almost five years the trust needs a fresh pair of eyes to take it on the next stage of its development journey.

“It is a matter of public record that within weeks the Care Quality Commission will be publishing a report on the health services delivered by the Isle of Wight NHS Trust,” she added.

“It would be wrong to say more about this report before publication, but I know it will contain some important messages about how we can improve healthcare on the island,” said Ms Baker.

“I do not want questions about my own position to detract from these important messages around the time of publication,” she said. “I have therefore decided to stand down.”

Ms Baker is both a former nurse and midwife, spending 18 years in clinical practice before moving into healthcare management.

She joined the NHS in 1979 as a student nurse training at Guy’s Hospital in London and then qualified as a midwife in 1985.

Isle of Wight NHS Trust

Former nurse and midwife steps down as chief exec

Karen Baker

She started her management career in 1995 working in Basingstoke and a number of roles at Southampton, prior to moving to the island.

Trust chair Eve Richardson said: “I would like to thank Karen for her hard work and commitment over the past five years. It has been a challenging period for the NHS nationally and there have been additional challenges that are unique to the Isle of Wight.

“It is a tribute to Karen that she was the first to recognise the need for a fresh start,” she said. “Karen will not be receiving any kind of severance payment.”

She added that the trust board’s “priority” was now to work “to develop the necessary improvement plans arising from the upcoming Care Quality Commission report”.

Executive medical director Dr Mark Pugh is currently acting chief executive while the trust seeks to confirm the appointment of an interim chief exec for up to six months.

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