Our collaboration with Barts Health: an update from our Chair in common

portrait photo of Jacqui Smith Jacqui Smith, Chair in common, provides an update on our collaboration with Barts Health.

Alwen Williams’ decision to step down from the leadership of the Barts Health group presents both a challenge and an opportunity for the NHS in east London. She has led Barts Health with enormous distinction and leaves us with a stronger trust at Barts Health and very encouraging progress in the collaboration with BHRUT.

I have discussed the implications of her decision with colleagues on the boards of both trusts. In the light of these changed circumstances, and in line with my appointment as Chair in common of BHRUT and Barts Health, the boards of both trusts have now agreed to recruit a Group CEO who will be the accountable officer for both trusts. The successful candidate will be responsible for developing the collaboration further, working with myself and Matthew Trainer, the trust CEO of BHRUT.

This is a new role providing a strategic lead for the development of our two trusts and their work together. It will enable us to play a key role in the health system across north east London; to work effectively with partners in local government in tackling health inequalities; and to be a strong voice for our patients and their communities.

Matthew will continue to lead the BHRUT executive team and will remain responsible for the running of Queen’s and King George’s hospitals and working with partners as the new arrangements for the integrated care system develop. He will be accountable to both the Group CEO and the BHRUT board. BHRUT and Barts Health will continue to be separate statutory organisations with their own trust boards.

These arrangements build on our success in developing the Barts Health group as an effective operating model for improving hospital performance. We intend to further develop the group model, with strengthened hospital leadership focused on providing high quality care for their communities and playing a full role as partners in place-based leadership within the developing integrated care system.  

I am currently recruiting two deputy chairs to support me in ensuring that both trust boards continue to discharge their respective accountabilities. I will be talking further with key stakeholders about all these developments, including the Group CEO recruitment. 

We believe these steps will help drive even closer collaboration between the Barts Health and BHRUT hospitals, and develop a distinct model for north east London that will bring further improvements for our patients and better health outcomes for our communities.

Commenting on the decision to recruit a Group CEO for both trusts, Matthew Trainer said: “It’s been a privilege working alongside Alwen. I believe the plans we’ve produced for her successor will ensure our two organisations continue to work together and improve. As CEO of BHRUT, I look forward to seeing the benefits our collaboration will bring to the people we serve.”

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