Interim chairman appointed as another senior figure departs troubled East Kent Hospitals trust
PUBLISHED: 13:25 02 October 2017
Nikki Cole’s exit comes just weeks after chief executive Matthew Kershaw left the trust
An interim chairman has been appointed at East Kent Hospitals trust following the departure of yet another senior figure.
Nikki Cole is stepping down as chair having been in the role for two-and-a-half years - her exit coming just weeks after chief executive Matthew Kershaw left the trust to take up a position at a think-tank.
The trust has come under fire in recent months after it controversially announced it was set to make a number of cuts to services at the Kent & Canterbury Hospital, with some 35 people who normally attend by ambulance every day with conditions such as heart attacks, strokes and pneumonia, instead diverted to its other sites in Ashford and Margate.
The changes, which health chiefs insist are only temporary, but have been in place since June, are the result of the trust struggling to recruit enough permanent consultants.
The knock-on effect of that was the trust having to move some 50 per cent of junior doctors based at the K&C to the QEQM and William Harvey, claiming continuing to run services without experienced consultants overseeing them would jeopardise patient safety.
However, bosses announced last week 10 new emergency doctors had been hired to help ease pressure on A&E departments, and set out a 12-month plan for improvement.
The council of governors this week appointed Dr Peter Carter - a former interim chair at Medway Foundation Trust - to take over on October 17 from Ms Cole.
She said: “It has been a privilege to have served as chair of the trust since May 2015.
“In that time there have been significant improvements in governance and quality which led to the Trust coming out of Quality Special Measures in February 2017.
“We stabilised and improved the yrust’s financial position, developed with our staff our vision and values and set clear strategic objectives to continue the improvement in patient care.
“I am very grateful for the opportunity to play such an important role in east Kent and I look forward to seeing the trust’s progress continue.”
Dr Carter has also worked as chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing and Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust and is described as having extensive knowledge and skills in strategic development, with a track record of success in large complex organisations.
During his time at RCN and CNWL, Dr Carter was consistently ranked by the Health Service Journal as one of the top 100 most influential people in health and was awarded an OBE in 2006 for his services to the NHS.
“East Kent Hospitals has made a lot of progress and has a great future ahead,” he said.
“I know how hard everyone is working to improve the A&E performance and experience for patients and that will come with the positive changes the trust is putting in place.
“The trust also needs to implement a long-term clinical strategy so that it can move forward with the changes that are needed to provide sustainable services which will mean patients get faster, more effective care.
“I have worked in organisations across the country and I am really excited about coming to east Kent and working with the trust on the next stage in its journey until the council of governors appoints a permanent chairman.”