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Maternity-scandal trust to share chair with neighbour

Published on: 22 May 2024

A struggling acute trust has announced plans to share a chair with its neighbouring community provider.

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust is proposing to recruit a chair in common with Shropshire Community Health Trust, its leaders have announced.

SaTH, which has been hit by major maternity scandals over the past five years, recently improved its Care Quality Commission rating to “requires improvement” from “inadequate” although it remains in NHS England’s most challenged performance tier.

The trust has recently been working more closely with the community trust on virtual wards, rehabilitation units and antibiotics therapy and the move signals a bigger step towards more joint working.

SCHT is considered better performing, with a “good” CQC rating although it sits in the Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin system, which is also receiving intensive support from NHSE for its performance and finances.

Both organisations will remain separate but will appoint the same person to the chair role for each trust. SaTH is currently chaired by Catriona McMahon, while Tina Long is acting chair at Shropshire Community.

SaTH’s chief executive, Louise Barnett, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to deliver greater alignment and collaboration across our two organisations, which importantly will improve care for patients through more integrated care and our focus on delivering care closer to home.”

Meanwhile SCHT’s CEO Patricia Davies added: “This is a really positive move as having a chair in common enables us to leverage all the benefits of working clinically together, particularly around sub-acute care. Whilst also recognising the wider reach that community services offer to the population of Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, the Black Country, and borders.”

Many other acute providers have started to share leadership with community services in their patches.

Earlier this year, HSJ analysis revealed more than one in three trusts in England now share their chair or chief executive with others, after a rapid growth in joint posts.

The effect was more marked among acute and acute/community combined trusts, of which 40 per cent shared a chair or CEO as of March.