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Long-time provider CEO joins struggling trust

Published on: 8 Mar 2024

One of the worst performing acute trusts for emergency care has appointed a new interim leader who comes from an eight-year break from English CEO roles.

Mark Hackett has been appointed to University Hospitals Plymouth Trust following the abrupt departure of former CEO Ann James.

Mr Hackett has worked in NHS provider chief executive officer roles since 1996 and he has previously worked in Devon as an improvement director at Torbay and South Devon Foundation Trust in 2017.

However, his last provider CEO job in the English NHS was at University Hospitals of North Midlands Trust, where he worked for 16 months before leaving in 2016. He also led that trust’s predecessor (University Hospitals of North Staffordshire Trust) from 2013. 

Mr Hackett was made CEO of Swansea Bay Health Board since January 2021, and announced his retirement from that role last year.

He has also worked as CEO of Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals Trust and University Hospitals Southampton FT – the latter for nearly nine years.

UHP has averaged around two hours for ambulance handover delays this winter, with type 1 four-hour performance being the second worst nationally in January.

UHP’s previous long-serving CEO, Ms James, formally steps down at the end of this month and is currently on leave – following the announcement in early February of her departure.

Devon Integrated Care System is in the bottom level of NHS England’s national oversight framework.

Mr Hackett said: “I recognise there is a significant challenge manifesting itself in urgent and emergency care and that will require a team effort to address, both within the whole trust and with partners across the Devon and Cornwall systems.

“I promise that this will involve staff and clinicians at all levels to make the improvements patients deserve.

“There will be some key decisions to be made about how we do that together and I am committed, in my time as interim, to working with staff, partners and the Board to make those decisions and drive a step change for the communities UHP serves.”

The trust said it would publish more information about the advertisement of the role for a substantive CEO “soon”.

Finance director Sarah Brampton is currently UHP’s acting CEO.