A medic who has been confirmed as joint CEO of two South Yorkshire hospital trusts has told HSJ the move is a “natural development” but “definitely not a merger, now or down the line”.
Richard Jenkins has been appointed to lead The Rotherham Foundation Trust on a permanent basis, after taking on the interim role in February 2020. He also heads up neighbouring Barnsley Hospital Foundation Trust and said the move would see the trusts work closely together in a “partnership of equals”.
The trusts, which both operate single district general hospitals, already share some services and appointments. Together they have a combined turnover of more than £600m.
Dr Jenkins was appointed to Rotherham on an interim basis after a series of critical Care Quality Commission reports. The trust has since been praised by the care watchdog for making improvements in leadership and culture, though it remains rated as ”requires improvement”.
He told HSJ the move was “definitely not a merger, now or down the line. It’s about two similar trusts, in neighbouring areas, working more closely in a partnership of equals with the intent of this being beneficial to the staff and patients of both areas”.
He said: “We already have a longstanding shared pathology service, have been developing a joint gastroenterology service over the last three to four years, have a joint director of workforce and a joint lead for procurement.
“We will be developing a shared work programme over the next few months. We see it as a natural development of the wider NHS strategy of integration and providers working more closely together.”
Dr Jenkins became a consultant in 2002, with an interest in endocrinology and diabetes, then worked as a clinical director.
Rotherham FT said in a statement: “This partnership will benefit both trusts and build on the close relationship which has developed over the years. Barnsley and Rotherham are similar sized trusts, and face many of the same challenges. Sharing knowledge and experience between the two trusts has been immensely valuable, particularly over the past two and a half years.
“In addition to his role at Barnsley, Richard has been Rotherham’s interim chief executive since February 2020 and has helped to lead both trusts through one of the most difficult periods in the history of the NHS. He is also focused on working with colleagues to make continual improvements to patient care.”