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Trust Chair’s four-year term to end soon

Professor Peter Latchford’s four-year tenure as Chair at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) will end with acute health services in the county in a stronger position than when he started. 

Peter, who has lived in Shropshire for more than 20 years, said: “I will be very sad to leave SaTH. The commitment, support and energy of our workforce is something I will take with me and never forget. 

“I have been very privileged to have played some part in this precious gift called the NHS and although I was greatly honoured by NHS Improvement’s request that I stay on for another term,  I feel the time is right, both for me personally and for SaTH to step aside. 

“This was not an easy decision. However, following last night’s decision to move forward to public consultation on the future of healthcare services in Shropshire it is clear to me that we are now moving in the right direction for the 500,000 people we serve and therefore I feel I am now able to hand the reigns over to someone new. With the existing commitments that I have in my business life I think it is right that I pass the torch on to someone else to complete this work. 

“They will work with Simon Wright, Chief Executive, and the leadership team at SaTH to see through the ambitious plans we have developed with our partners to ensure sustainable health services for future generations. I do this confident in the knowledge that SaTH has the right team to make this happen.

“The past four years have been a time of tremendous change for the Trust and, at times, this has been very challenging. Throughout this time, I have been struck by the determination of the current leadership team to address some legacy issues that have bedevilled healthcare in Shropshire for years, if not decades.  

“Our clinicians have been at the forefront of moving forward some of our seemingly intractable operational problems and we have also shone a light on concerns that had been left unresolved for far too long.  This needed brave and decisive action and although this has not always been a comfortable thing to do, I believe the organisation has shown great courage to respond to these challenges and address them head on.

“I will stay on while plans for my successor are put into place, which should be by January 2018. 

“Finally I would like to thank all the staff for the endless care and compassion they have provided to our community and their extraordinary service which is what makes SaTH and the wider NHS so special.”

Fran Steele, regional Delivery and Improvement Director at NHS Improvement, said: “We would like to thank Peter for the expertise and commitment he has brought to the Chair role at SaTH over the last four years. We are appreciative of him staying on as Chair until a successor is found, and we will be working closely with the trust to identify a suitable replacement.”

During his time at SaTH, Peter has stressed the importance of openness and transparency and accountability to the communities SaTH serves. Peter has seen the Trust lead the work to reconfigure hospital services to ensure safe and sustainable services for the future. 

Two years ago, the Trust was selected as one of only five Trusts to participate in the prestigious partnership with the Virginia Mason Institute in USA to transform healthcare for patients, by involving and empowering frontline staff.  This work has seen remarkable changes delivered and findings are shared at public report out sessions every two weeks.

In 2015 a hospital-wide Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection found a number of highlights, not least in the almost universal praise for staff, as SaTH was rated GOOD for Caring across every service area.  As part of the drive for greater accountability and transparency, Peter commissioned an external review of maternity services at SaTH which was then discussed at a single item Special Board meeting in April 2016 to ensure full and frank discussion. This meeting was probably unique in the NHS.

Simon Wright, Chief Executive at SaTH, said: “Peter is a fierce advocate for our population and has been instrumental in our journey of improvement.  He is authentic, honest and a thoroughly decent man of principle who has always worked hard to recognise the value of our people and their contributions alongside the importance of transparency and candour. Peter has been a great role model for our Trust and leaves a legacy he can be very proud of.”

Peter joined SaTH, which runs the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, in 2013.  Peter has been Chair, Chief Executive and troubleshooter for a variety of public service organisations, in health, housing, regeneration, community cohesion, enterprise, infrastructure, local authority, museums, skills, business support, and crime.

He is Director of Black Radley Ltd which provides specialist consultancy services in enterprise development, governance and strategic planning. He is also Visiting Professor of Enterprise at Birmingham City University and Trustee of the LankellyChase Foundation. He was awarded an OBE for services to business and the community in the New Year’s Honours of 2012.

BBC Health News