High profile director hired by trust to lead recovery from scandal

Published on: 29 Nov 2023
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A trust which has been at the centre of a series of scandals over the last year has appointed a former regional director as its group chief medical officer.

Kiran Patel is stepping into the newly created role at University Hospitals Birmingham as it moves into a group model with a central board and executive teams for its four hospital sites.

He will move from University Hospitals of Coventry and Warwickshire, where he is known for leading a project which has transformed the way elective patients are prioritised.

Prior to this, he was medical director for NHS England in the West Midlands and also worked as a cardiologist at UHB.

He will help to lead UHB’s recovery from a series of high profile reviews over the past year into issues around patient safety, leadership, and culture.

The trust’s medical services have also come under fire after the experience of junior doctors in the trust’s haematology and obstetrics and gynaecology departments was heavily criticised by regulators.

At UHCW, Professor Patel has helped develop one of the leading NHS “agile waiting list” programmes designed to factor in health inequalities, with dozens of trusts considering adopting its software.

He has previously made strong comments about how the current system unfairly penalises certain social groups, including people from ethnic minority backgrounds. The project has also proved controversial in some quarters.

UHB has struggled with elective recovery, often featuring among the most challenged trusts nationally, although recently it was taken out of NHSE’s “tier one” group of most challenged providers.

The trust’s outgoing chief medical officer, Professor Simon Ball, announced his departure amid a executive clear-out in September.

He has announced his intention to leave on 1 January 2024, which means newly appointed Queen Elizabeth Hospital executive director Matt Metcalfe, from Northamptonshire integrated care board, will take on a dual role until Professor Patel arrives.

UHB’s group chief executive, Jonathan Brotherton, said: “As a very highly regarded and experienced clinical leader I am confident Kiran’s vast skill set, considerable expertise, and impressive passion for quality improvement, will see University Hospitals Birmingham further strengthen its role as a sustainable anchor organisation at the heart of the communities it serves.

“I am also immensely grateful for Professor Simon Ball’s clinical contributions, his commitment, as well as his support to me personally.”