The chief executive of a successful acute trust is to take over as the interim leader of an integrated care system.
Steve McManus will be seconded to the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West intergrated care system from 24 October for up to six months. His role at Royal Berkshire Foundation Trust – which is rated “good” by the Care Quality Commission – will be filled by chief medical officer Janet Lippett in his absence.
Former Downing Street adviser James Kent quit as BOB ICS chief executive this week and has been seconded to NHS England to support chief strategy officer Chris Hopson.
Mr McManus said his interim post should give the ICS time to conduct an open recruitment for a substantive chief executive.
He told HSJ: “When asked to support the ICS, it was a natural reaction to say yes but I’m very clear my role is the chief executive of the Royal Berkshire and I am expecting to go back.”
He said he is not starting the interim role for several weeks because he wanted to put arrangements in place to ensure the Royal Berkshire was not adversely affected by his absence.
He added: “Having been in the system since 2017, I think one of the opportunities that I can build upon is the strength of networks, the connections not just in health but also within our local government partners and our academic partners – my style is about making these connections and utilising those for the benefits they can bring.”
Some local authority figures have been critical of how the ICS has engaged with them, with one saying local government felt “marginalised”. However, Mr McManus praised former ICS chief executive Dr Kent for putting much collaborative working in place.
BOB’s board meeting earlier this week heard of financial challenges – the system is more than £11m overspent – and issues with access targets.
But Mr McManus said some of the “collective challenges” were common to many ICSs, such as being a very new organisation. “It has got to invest in its own development and capabilities,” he said, stressing the importance of the ICS understanding the distinct local challenges and opportunities, such as around health inequalities, and used its “convening power” to tackle them.
He also said organisations in the ICS are working together to meet the NHSE milestone of eliminating 78-week waits by March 2023 three months early, adding: “We are ahead of our plan on this and in some parts of the ICS they are two quarters ahead… that is a great example of the scale of the ICS and the convening power we can bring.”
Royal Berkshire chair Graham Sims said: “The board has supported Steve’s move and believe it is helpful to the RBFT. His extensive experience at the trust, and his considerable achievements over recent years working with the [ICB] will be invaluable to its evolution and this, in turn, will benefit RBFT since the ICB covers the work of healthcare systems across the BOB patch, including ours.
“Steve, Janet and I will continue to work together, through shared BOB-wide activity.”