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CEO leaves trust criticised over suicide review

Published on: 2 Feb 2024

The chief executive of a trust recently pressured into commissioning an external review of dozens of suicides is leaving after under two years in post.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation Trust boss Anna Hills said in a statement today: “For personal reasons the time is right for me to pursue other opportunities.”

The trust’s finance director Scott Haldane, who had been on secondment to the area’s integrated care board, has been appointed as acting CEO, to replace Ms Hills, who was previously CEO at James Paget University Hospitals FT.

The announcement follows criticism of the trust over an external investigation into dozens of patient suicides.

The concerns relate to an internal investigation completed by a staff member in 2021, which concluded staff had tampered with a patient’s record. It said a care plan had been added to Charles Ndhlovu’s notes, a day after the 33-year-old had died by suicide in 2017.

This was before Ms Hills joined the trust in 2022. However, during her tenure, the trust has faced fresh criticism of its handling of the case.

It initially insisted it would only carry out an internal review into the suicides, but then subsequently U-turned on this, and agreed to an external review, following pressure from media and a whistleblower, as reported by HSJ last year.

The trust is expected to set out the review’s terms of reference and who will lead it imminently. 

Ms Hills said: “I have really enjoyed the last couple of years working at CPFT and in the wider Cambridgeshire and Peterborough system. I’m really proud of the amazing people here who have achieved so much for our patients.

“However, I have decided that for personal reasons the time is right for me to pursue other opportunities. I would like to wish everyone well at CPFT under the guidance of the chair and a new chief executive.”

CPFT chair Eileen Milner said: “On behalf of the CPFT trust board I want to thank Anna for the drive, commitment, and energy that she brought to CPFT. I know that the whole of CPFT will be with me in wishing Anna all the best for the future.”

The trust is beginning a search for a permanent replacement.