Hinchingbrooke Welcomes Its New Chief Executive

Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust was pleased to announce the appointment of its new Chief Executive, Jim O’Connell, on 29 February.

Jim, who was Interim Chief Operating Officer at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, brings to the hospital more than 20 years of NHS experience at national, regional and local level.

Finding a new Chief Executive has been one of the first steps in the transformation process initiated by Hinchingbrooke and its new partner, Circle, to make it one of the country’s top ten district general hospitals within the next two years.

Jim said: “Joining the Hinchingbrooke team at the start of this historic transformation programme is a unique and exciting opportunity for me. Much of my career to date has been devoted to developing strong teamwork, so I’m completely sold on Circle’s belief in driving excellence through employee ownership. The task of turning a hospital into one of the top ten in the country is enormous, but the plan that the staff and Circle have drawn up to achieve this is truly groundbreaking”.

Although the SPT’s involvement with Hinchingbrooke has been drawing to a close, the company will continue to watch the hospital’s progress with interest and with pride. 

All go at Hinchingbrooke

Hinchingbrooke hospital

Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust and Circle started their historic partnership on 1 February; historic because it is the first time ever that an independent provider will operate an entire NHS district general hospital.

Readers of SPT Update will recall the 13 month procurement which the company have been proud to manage. It’s been quite a journey, leading from 19 initial potential bidders from the public and independent sectors, to Circle’s selection as preferred bidder in November 2010.

Since that announcement, staff from Circle and Hinchingbrooke have been working closely to plan for the hospital’s future, and on 1 February they published their plan for transformation. Everyone who works in the hospital was invited to take part in its creation via one of 17 four hour ‘partnership sessions’. There they decided that their objective would be to become one of the top ten district general hospitals in the country by excelling in four areas: patient safety, patient experience, staff engagement and value for money.

Circle Chief Executive, Ali Parsa, said: “An ambitious programme has now been unveiled, to turn this hospital into one of the top ten in the country. Circle has a track record of creating best in class hospitals by devolving power to the clinicians and staff who are closest to patients. They are confident that they can do it again in Hinchingbrooke.”

Dr Stephen Dunn, their Director of Policy and Strategy, said: “With the challenges the NHS now faces, new solutions are needed so services can be provided how and where patients want them, but at a cost which taxpayers can afford. The company are now seeing a new chapter in creativity and partnership working. The hospital can plan a future where its staff and assets remain within the NHS, energised by the innovation which its new partner will bring.”

Speaking at the press conference on 1 February, Hinchingbrooke’s Chief Executive, Nigel Beverley, said: “Today marks the start of a new phase for Hinchingbrooke, its staff and its patients. Patients can be assured that the quality of their care remains our top priority and we can now look forward to building a bright future for Hinchingbrooke.”

Andrew MacPherson, Director of Customer Service Strategy and Strategic Projects, added: “We would like to thank the wide range of stakeholders from Board members to clinicians and patient representatives, who have worked with us in bringing this initiative to today’s conclusion. They have shown great commitment, patience, courage and support for this groundbreaking contribution to sustainable public healthcare.”

New Chair at Hinchingbrooke

Mike Burrows has been appointed as the new Chair Designate at Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust. Previously a Non Executive Director at NHS East of England, he takes over from Sue Smith who has played a central role in the Hinchingbrooke Next Steps project.

Once the new operating franchise is eventually able to commence, Mike and the new board will take on a unique role ensuring that Circle  delivers the hospital’s services to the levels specified in the contract. They will also be ensuring that patients’ interests remain squarely at the heart of decision making.