Shropshire

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital chief Simon Wright to leave

Image copyright Shropshire Star
Image caption Simon Wright will take up his new appointment on 22 July

An under-fire hospital trust's chief executive is to leave the organisation after nearly four years in the job.

Simon Wright, from The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH), said the decision had not been easy.

It was put in special measures in November due to concerns about maternity and emergency services.

SaTH is also being investigated over baby deaths, with the scope of a review widened to include questions or concerns from 250 families.

Mr Wright is to take up a different health service role at Nottingham and Nottinghamshire ICS on 22 July and interim arrangements will be in place by then, the trust said.

He said he had "loved" his time there and thanked people for their support.

Mr Wright stated: "I believe the trust is at the start of an exciting journey and although there are still many challenges remaining, the foundations have been laid to build a better future."

SaTH chair Ben Reid said on behalf of the board, he wished to thank him for his contribution.

Mr Reid said: "We will be building upon the foundations he has laid to ensure we can deliver the first class service that the public we serve deserve."

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Aerial view of Royal Shrewsbury Hospital Image copyright PA
Image caption An inspection of the trust last year found continuing problems

Analysis

Michael Buchanan, social affairs correspondent

I doubt there will be many involved in the provision of healthcare in Shropshire who will shed a tear over Simon Wright's departure.

Services are demonstrably poorer now than when he took over - the trust has been rated inadequate by the CQC and placed in special measures over failures in both A&E and maternity care.

Many local politicians lost confidence in him over the past year and he was often accused of being evasive.

The problems in the trust's maternity services may have started before his appointment but he was incapable of grasping the seriousness of the situation.

He tried to paint the issue as an historical problem - it was not.

Some of the deaths and incidents of avoidable harm happened on his watch, and last year's inspection report highlighted serious ongoing problems.

Questions now turn to the NHS regulators - NHS England and NHS Improvement - as to how a man who had overseen a deterioration of services within the NHS has been found another job within the organisation.

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The trust was put into special measures after inspectors decided it could no longer run itself alone.

The news comes days after expectant mothers were told they will soon not be able to give birth at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital's midwife-led unit due to problems with an ageing building.

From 10 June, inpatient services will stop for up to six months after issues were found during a refurbishment.

In a joint statement, Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) chair Dr Julian Povey and Telford & Wrekin CCG chair Dr Jo Leahy said they wished Mr Wright well.

They said: "He joined the Trust at a very challenging time and his contribution has been invaluable."

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