Hospital trust appoints UKs youngest chief executive

New health chief Richard Mitchelll at Kings Mill Hospital
New health chief Richard Mitchelll at Kings Mill Hospital

At the age of 36 Richard Mitchell takes the reins at the Sherwood Forests Hospitals NHS Trust as the youngest trust chief executive in the UK.

He succeeds outgoing chief Peter Herring and has pledged to continue the improvements which have taken the trust out of special measures.

The new boss said he was proud and delighted to have been offered the job.

He said: “In the first two days I have met staff and patients across all three sites and I have been made to feel really welcome - It really feels like a community.”

He said he shared the management style of his predecessor who had ‘steadied the team giving support and stability’.

He added: “Now what we are looking to do is to build on that and truly make this organisation outstanding for all the patients.

“The CQC scoring is improving, the feedback from patients and families is improving and staff engagement is improving.

Things are getting better but we want to make this organisation as good as it can be.”

“Staff want visibility from their senior team and that was one of the clear messages I heard across the sites in my first two days.”

He said he would work to tackle the major issues facing the trust. ”The national limitation on NHS finances is well understood,” he said.

“The trust is running an annual deficit 0f £40 million, half of which is repaying the Private finance Initiative (PFI).

“But that is not affecting the organisation in any way - we don’t have to reduce services to patients or staff.”

“We are in a similar position to other organisations across the country and it is for me to work with our chief financial officer and the trust board to identify a plan to make those repayments.”

He said growing demand - the emergency department at King’s Mill had the third largest number of patients ever on Monday - could be controlled by making sure only the correct patients were using the emergency department, working more efectively with GPs and focusing on length of stay and reducing cancellations.

He added: “Much as I am proud to be the youngest chief executive I don’t personally view that there is any negative connotation to that .

“I have a lot of NHS experience, I have been an executive director for nearly six years and I have worked in large and complicated environments.

“I would not have applied for this job nor would the organisation have appointed me if I represented a risk.”

Richard Mitchell joined the NHS in 2004 on the graduate training scheme.

He had two roles there where he worked on the Isle of Wight with a team who ran mental health services for the three prisons there.

He then worked for a year in commissioning in East Kent.

In 2006 when he left the scheme he did a range of jobs in London Trusts, St Thomas and Imperial and was chief operating officer at the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Trust.

He has spent the last four years working at University Hospitals in Leicester as chief operating officer and deputy chief executive.