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New Shropshire hospital boss: 'I’ll be working to lead improvements for the benefit of patients and our community'

By Lisa O'Brien | Telford | Health | Published:

The new boss of Shropshire's main hospitals says she will work to lead improvements for the benefit of patients and the community.

Louise Barnett

Louise Barnett became chief executive of The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) on Monday.

She says she is aware of the challenges the county's hospitals are facing and will aim to build on improvements already made, as well as tackling the long-standing issues.

“I am delighted to be joining SaTH and I look forward to working with staff across the organisation to provide the best possible care for the people we serve across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Mid Wales," said Ms Barnett.

“We have some great staff at the trust, however I know SaTH faces a number of challenges and I’ll be working to lead improvements for the benefit of patients and our community.

“I will also be working closely with our board, senior leadership team and local healthcare partners to build on the improvements of the past few months and work through how we can tackle some of the long-standing issues.”

Ms Barnett, who replaces Paula Clark - the interim chief executive at SaTH since July 2019 - was previously chief executive at The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust.

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Ben Reid, chairman of the trust, which runs Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, said: “I look forward to working with Louise.

"She has an impressive track record of leadership and stakeholder engagement, and if you add to that her values and commitment to patients and staff, this makes her a great appointment for SaTH.

“Louise joins us at an important time as we work towards building sustainable solutions to the challenges we face, as well as building on our areas of strength.

"She will provide inspirational leadership to the trust and strengthen our partnerships across the healthcare community.

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“I would like to take the opportunity to thank Paula Clark for the invaluable contribution she has made in a short period of time.”

Prior to her time at The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, Ms Barnett held a number of NHS board positions, including interim chief executive, and director of human resources and organisational development at Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and non-executive director at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The trust faces a number of challenges. It is currently in special measures and a report to its board last week said there is still "significant work" to do to address concerns with its A&Es.

Bosses are currently working on a business case to take the Future Fit plans forward, which would see RSH host the county's main emergency centre and PRH take over responsibility for planned care.

And SaTH is also at the centre of what has been described as the worst maternity scandal ever to hit the NHS.

Last week, Mr Reid said it is thought that 1,000 families had now contacted the Ockenden review, which was ordered by the Government in 2017.

A leaked report into the inquiry last year revealed a catalogue of concerns and that dozens of babies and mothers are thought to have died or been left disabled due to poor care at the trust.

It is yet to reach its final conclusions.

Lisa O'Brien

By Lisa O'Brien
Senior Reporter - @lisaobrien_Star

Senior reporter based at Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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