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Search for ‘low ego’ leader across four trusts with £3bn income

Published on: 2 Dec 2021

NHS England is seeking a chair with a “low ego and high emotional intelligence” to lead what will be the largest group of trusts under a shared chair.

An advert for the role says the successful candidate will also have a “well-attuned political antennae” and be comfortable operating in a “complex, ambiguous environment at a time of significant organisational and systemic change”.

The four trusts – Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Foundation Trust, The Hillingdon Hospitals FT, Imperial College Healthcare Trust and London North West University Healthcare FT – announced they would appoint a single chair across the organisations in July.

It will make the appointee chair of the largest group of trusts in the NHS, and follows an increasing trend of multiple trust chair appointments across England. The four acutes are forming a provider collaborative, although they do not described themselves as a ‘provider group’ or ‘hospital group’.

Chair vacancies are coming up at all the trusts involved. Lord Amyas Morse chairs both London North West University Healthcare FT and The Hillingdon Hospitals FT, while Bob Alexander is acting chair at Imperial College Healthcare Trust and Steve Gill holds an interim role at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital FT.

The advert, published last month, said: “A guardian of the trusts’ values with patients’ best interests as their core driver, the chair will provide dynamic leadership, growing the existing partnership between the acute trusts to build a formal alignment between organisations, harnessing efficiencies and driving best-in-class partnership working and integrated clinical education and research capabilities for the benefit of north west London’s population.

It added: “An outstanding communicator and relationship builder, the incoming chair will bring experience leading and transforming organisations to deliver a step change in performance.

“With low ego and high EQ [emotional intelligence] alongside well-attuned political antennae, they will be comfortable operating in a complex, ambiguous environment at a time of significant organisational and systemic change.”

The role is described as one of the “largest and most complex roles in the NHS”, with the prospect of shaping the health and life outcomes of London’s population as a “key player” in the North West London integrated care system.

The successful candidate will work three days per week “once operational”, which is expected by April 2022. The role’s salary is listed as “competitively remunerated” and the initial appointment will be for a period of up to four years.

Saxton Bampfylde, a London-based executive search and assessment firm, is acting as an adviser to NHS England and other governing bodies on the appointment.

The closing date for applications is 10 December.

In September, NHS England’s job advert for its chief operating officer role asked for candidates who could “suspend” their ego.