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‘Outstanding’ hospital CEO to leave after 18 months

Published on: 16 Nov 2023

An acute trust chief executive is retiring next spring after a year-and-a-half in post. 

Homerton Healthcare Foundation Trust has announced Louise Ashley will leave next year after taking up the role last autumn.

The announcement said she made the decision after finding it increasingly difficult to balance the growing demands of her family life and her roles as CEO and the place-based leader of the City and Hackney Health and Care Partnership.

She first joined Homerton as a senior nurse for children’s services, from 1997 to 2000, before coming back again in 2012 as a director for organisational development.

Ms Ashley said: “When I was appointed as CEO of the trust, it was like coming home for me as I started my senior nursing career at Homerton and one of the proudest moments of my career was the opening of our children’s department at the hospital.

“But over recent months, the needs of my family have increased and I want to spend more time on caring for elderly frail parents and other family members who require ongoing love, support and attention.

“I know from my five years as a CEO, and 15 years as a chief nurse and COO, that to do these big roles justice you have to commit to them 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“I believe I cannot continue to give that level of commitment to this role and to my family so I have made the difficult decision to retire from my role.”

Homerton University Hospital is rated “outstanding” by the Care Quality Commission, although the wider trust is rated “good”. 

Ms Ashley was also chief nurse and chief operating officer at Central London Community Healthcare Trust for six years before serving as Dartford and Gravesham Trust chief executive for another four, from October 2018 until June 2022.

Homerton chair Sir John Gieve said he and the trust’s board “deeply regret” Ms Ashley’s decision to retire but that they “fully understand why she has made the choice she has”.

He added: “Though Louise has only been back at Homerton Healthcare for 18 months, she has already made a great impact in the trust, as leader of the City and Hackney Health and Care Partnership, and in the wider integrated care system in north east London.

“She will be very much missed.”

Sir John confirmed Ms Ashley will lead the trust through winter before departing in May 2024. The trust will also soon advertise a permanent successor but no further details have been confirmed at this stage.