Good nurse leaders have been the key in improving care at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust, according to the outgoing chief executive.
Antony Sumara, who has a history of tackling problems at troubled NHS organisations, was brought in by foundation trust regulator Monitor two years ago to turn around the failing trust.
At the time, Mid Staffordshire was still reeling from the publication of a damning Healthcare Commission report that exposed major breaches in basic standards of nursing care and criticised staffing levels.
Since then, the trust has recruited an extra 140 nurses. This has included more ward managers and senior nurses, whom Mr Sumara told Nursing Times had made the “biggest difference” to quality of care.
He said: “Having a good ward sister is probably the most valuable thing you can have in terms of patient care. They will drive the quality; they’re there every day.”
Mr Sumara, who is married to a nurse, will be leaving the trust when his two-year contract expires at the end of the month.
He told Nursing Times the post had been “the most difficult job” he had ever done and that he regretted not “getting rid of enough people quickly enough” to change the culture at the trust.
He said staff now had their “heads down trying to make it better”, but accepted there may still be pockets of denial.
Mr Sumara compared his role to an accident and emergency consultant “stopping the bleeding”, and said his replacement, Lyn Hill‑Tout, would have the job of getting the trust “walking again”.