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Trust CEO to leave within weeks after merger abandoned

Published on: 16 Dec 2022

The chief executive of England’s smallest provider will leave after its merger with a neighbouring provider was abandoned.

Steve Jenkins will leave Queen Victoria Hospital Foundation Trust in mid-January. According to the trust’s annual report, his notice period is six months.

Mr Jenkins has led QVH – a specialist burns, rehabilitation and reconstructive surgery provider – for six years. During much of that time, there has been considerable debate about its future.

Last year QVH’s board decided to develop a full business case for a merger with the University Hospitals Sussex Foundation Trust, despite opposition from the majority of governors and some consultants. In September, the merger was unexpectedly dropped.

However, the future of the trust is still far from clear as it faces unresolved questions about its financial viability as a standalone organisation.

It is already working closely with the UHS’s Royal Sussex County Hospital to ensure that patients have access to round-the-clock specialist care, diagnostic services and co-located specialties.

In 2019, it stopped taking paediatric burns inpatients and it is expected that its adult inpatient burns outpatients will eventually move to Brighton.

Jackie Smith, chair of QVH, said: “In the last six years Steve has raised the profile of QVH regionally and nationally, secured vital investment on site, delivered excellent patient survey feedback and improved staff engagement.

“In addition Steve has led this organisation through the exceptional challenges of the pandemic. I know that Steve will be very much missed at QVH. He has shown enormous commitment to this hospital and worked tirelessly to secure the long-term future of the trust for our patients and our staff.”

HSJ asked the trust why Mr Jenkins is leaving and whether he is being paid for the remainder of his notice period, but the trust has not responded at the time of publication.