A chief executive who already leads three trusts looks set to also take the helm at a struggling neighbouring provider, HSJ has learned.
Outgoing Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust CEO Matthew Hopkins has proposed the trust join the provider group of South Warwickshire Foundation Trust, George Eliot Hospital Trust and Wye Valley Trust, which is led by Glen Burley.
If this goes ahead, Mr Burley would be CEO of all four trusts, with each led by a managing director.
The move is subject to approval by WAHT’s board at a meeting on 8 June. In a statement, Mr Hopkins said WAHT becoming part of the foundation group is the trust’s preferred option for its future.
He added: “This would mean that we would share with the [provider group] a CEO and chair (following the completion of the appropriate appointment processes), but otherwise our board would continue with its current membership and we will remain in charge of decision making for our patients and staff.
“Subject to the approval of our board, and the boards of the current foundation group members, we believe this offers us a range of important opportunities to share best practice with other group members, learn from each other and explore the potential for more joined-up working.
“It will also maintain strong board leadership, which will be vital in continuing to improve our care for patients.”
Mr Burley began his career as a finance trainee in the 1980s rising through the management ranks at various Warwickshire hospitals before becoming CEO at SWFT in 2008.
As chief executive of SWFT, he also took on leadership of WVT in 2016 and GEHT in 2018.
In an internal note to staff, Mr Burley said: “This change in leadership [Mr Hopkins leaving] presented an opportunity for WAHT to become full members of the foundation group and if agreed by all organisations’ board of directors, would mean I would become chief executive and Russell Hardy, chair of the foundation group, would become chair. All organisations will remain independent trusts, with their own boards and senior leadership teams.”
WAHT, which has widely publicised quality problems, particularly with ambulance handover delays, was led out of its “inadequate” Care Quality Commission rating in 2019 while Mr Hopkins was CEO. Mr Hopkins announced earlier this year he was leaving to run Mid and South Essex FT.
However, it has continued to grapple with major performance problems including some of the worst ambulance handover delays.