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NHSE names new emergency care chief and deputy COO

Published on: 16 Nov 2022

NHS England has hired a hospital chief executive as its new national director of urgent and emergency care and deputy chief operating officer.

The appointment of Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Foundation Trust chief executive officer Sarah-Jane Marsh was announced this morning by Steve Barclay to the NHS Providers conference, and to NHS England staff.

She will move to the roll full time, taking over from Dame Pauline Philip, who has held a similar role since 2015 and announced her departure earlier this year. There is expected to be a long hand-over period – with Ms Marsh starting soon and Dame Pauline leaving next year.

Ms Marsh became Birmingham Children’s Hospital CEO in 2009 and in 2017 oversaw a successful merger with the struggling Birmingham Women’s Hospital. She has at the same time chaired NHSE’s transformation programme work for maternity and children’s services; and was seconded to the Department of Health Social Care during the height of covid to NHS Test and Trace as director of testing. She is currently also chair of the DHSC’s “discharge taskforce” set up last winter.

A message to staff from NHSE CEO Amanda Pritchard said Ms Marsh would be a “key member of the NHS executive group” and “act as deputy to Sir David Sloman, NHS England’s chief operating officer”.

She said: “In her new role, Sarah-Jane will lead on transforming urgent and emergency care services across England both in and out of hospital settings, taking over from Dame Pauline Philip, who announced her intention to step down earlier this year.”

She also announced that Professor Tim Briggs — the national “getting it right first time” programme lead – had been appointed to a new role as national director for clinical improvement and elective recovery, as part of the elective recovery programme team led by Northumbria Healthcare chief Sir Jim Mackey.

Professor Briggs, as Chair of the Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) programme – a role in which he will continue – already works closely with the Elective Recovery Programme and has now been asked to support the national team in order to deliver a cohesive and streamlined service in alignment with the core objectives of the new NHS England Operating Framework.

Tim will utilise the wealth of experience of the GIRFT implementation and elective hub teams, clinicians from the GIRFT programme, and national clinical directors involved in elective recovery, to help support the national effort to deliver best practice during the most ambitious elective catch-up plan in NHS history.

Sir David said: ”As many colleagues across NHS England – and the wider health service – know, Sarah-Jane is a hugely talented, compassionate and values-driven leader with years of experience working nationally with government and the NHS in a number of key areas…

“I would like to again thank Pauline for her tireless work in leading on emergency care, which has included the remarkable response to the covid pandemic, and, more recently, elective recovery.”