SaTH chairman replaced with external trust brought to help struggling Shropshire hospitals

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The accountant chairman of Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) is also resigning and being replaced by an experienced doctor as NHS bosses try to improve standards in Shropshire.Ben Reid is leaving the post five months earlier than expected and is replaced by Dr Catriona McMahon of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB), an education trust that will be paid to provide targeted support to SaTH.

SaTH, which operates the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, has been under special measures since 2018.

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She is the subject of a review by her maternity services, which has seen more than 1,800 patients lodge a complaint and the police are investigating whether or not to prosecute her maternity care.

SaTH has now entered into an “improvement alliance” with UHB, which operates the largest hospital in the Midlands – the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham – as well as the Good Hope, Heartlands and Solihull hospitals.

It comes after Amanda Pritchard, chief operating officer of NHS England and NHS Improvement, confirmed last week that an ‘improvement team of unprecedented scale’ had entered the trust tasked with toppling him .

Under the new alliance, UHB will not have the responsibility for day-to-day operational management, but will address governance and leadership issues needed to improve services at SaTH, according to NHS bosses.

The alliance, which was facilitated by NHS Improvement in the Midlands and which goes into place on September 1, will be time-limited and will set up a ‘joint committees’ structure to provide a’ rapid improvement plan for the quality”.

Mr Reid, a qualified accountant, was appointed Chairman of SaTH in January 2018 after 30 years at the Mid-Counties Co-operative and was expected to hold this position until January of next year.

He would have chosen to resign and would be replaced by Dr McMahon, a non-executive director and senior independent director of UHB with over 16 years of experience in pharmaceutical medicine.

Dr Nigel Sturrock, Regional Medical Director for NHS Improvement in the Midlands, said: “The challenges that SaTH faces are complex and considerable.

“To achieve the improvements patients rightly expect, trust needs the strong support of the surrounding system.

“As a premier teaching hospital with exceptional leadership, UHB is uniquely positioned to provide the broad range of expertise necessary to address some of the key patient safety and quality challenges facing the SaTH is confronted.

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