Chairman of beleaguered East Sussex Healthcare Trust resigns

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Stuart Welling, Chair of East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, announced today (29th September 2015) that he has decided to step down after more than four years in the role.

His resignation come just a day before the Trust’s Annual General Meeting and a week after the Chief Inspector of Hospitals said the Trust should be placed in special measures.

In May the Committee which scrutinises the operation of health services in the county voted unanimously to declare no confidence in Stuart Welling and Chief Executive Darren Grayson.  Darren Grayson resigned over the Summer.   Richard Sunley was appointed in an acting capacity until a permanent Chief Executive is found.

In addition to the two acute hospitals, East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (ESHT) currently run Crowborough War Memorial Hospital, including the Birthing Centre.  However early this year ESHT lost the contract for community services, including the Minor Injury Unit in Crowborough and district nurses.  The new provider Sussex Community NHS Trust begin to take over from November.

Following a re-inspection of the Trust in March, last week the Care Quality Commission published the latest inspection reports which rated the Trust as Inadequate overall, but also as inadequate in both the leadership and safety categories.

Stuart Welling’s four year tenure came to an end in July but the NHS Trust Development Authority, the body responsible for non-executive appointments in the NHS, asked him to stay on to provide some stability and leadership continuity, in light of other challenges the Trust was facing. Stuart-Welling

Stuart has done this over the summer months but now believes it is time for the Trust to have fresh leadership in place.  He has informed the NHS Trust Development Authority of his decision and they will announce new arrangements for the role in due course.

Stuart Welling said:

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust does great work. We treat and see over 1.1 million people each year. Working with colleagues across the NHS and social care we play a pivotal role in enhancing and supporting the health of people across East Sussex. We don’t ever forget how valuable and valued this role is, and I feel enormously privileged to have worked with my 7,000 colleagues at the Trust, and those outside it, to improve healthcare for local people. Yes, we still have improvements to make, but there is a strong determination within the Trust to focus with pace and purpose on delivering excellent care for our patients.

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