Hospital chief speaks after 100 days in charge

Richard Mitchell, chief executive of Sherwood Forest Hospitals Trust, outside King's Mill Hospital in Sutton.
Richard Mitchell, chief executive of Sherwood Forest Hospitals Trust, outside King's Mill Hospital in Sutton.

The new Chief Executive for the Sherwood Forests Hospitals NHS Trust has celebrated his first 100 days in the role.

Richard Mitchell took over at the trust in July this year, which looks after acute healthcare services for 420,000 people across Mansfield, Ashfield, Newark and Sherwood.

Richard Mitchell the Chief Executive of Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Trust with staff at King's Mill Hospital.

Richard Mitchell the Chief Executive of Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Trust with staff at King's Mill Hospital.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Are services at King’s Mill getting better? To email us your views click here

The trust operates Kings Mill Hospital in Sutton, Mansfield Community and Newark Hospital.

He says: “I am really enjoying it. The first few months have flown and I have tried to spend time meeting as many members of staff as possible, speaking about what is happening and the role I can play to get better.

“I have offered to meet every member of the workforce that I can in one-on-one sessions.

“I have also met with a lot of patients. It is important to be visible.

“I have found staff incredibly friendly and that people are proud to work here, I recognise that our staff work hard in difficult circumstances.

“I am really proud to be here and I have been made to feel welcome, and I am aware of the challenges ahead.

“We will make the organisation outstanding.”

Mr Mitchell succeeded Peter Herring and has praised the improvements he made whilst chief executive.

Mr Mitchell says: “I fortunately inherited a good organisation but there is always room for improvement.

“I am grateful to Mr Herring who provided a good foundation.

“There is more we can be doing to support staff.”

Mr Mitchell has also confessed that his next immediate challenge is winter, but that plans are in place to help tackle the strain the hospitals faces through the colder months.

He says: “Winter brings an increased number of patents. But, our staffing levels are always safe and we are constantly reducing the use of agency nurses.”

Mr Mitchell joined the NHS in 2004 on the graduate training scheme and spent the last four years working at University Hospitals in Leicester as chief operating officer and deputy chief executive.

He says: “The thing I have enjoyed most is getting out and about with the patients to see how the treatment is here. I have also found services I was unaware of before, like a wood workshop for people who have suffered from a stoke.

“They provide brilliant care and it has been a joy stumbling upon them.”

Talking about Government cuts to the NHS, Mr Mitchell says: “It is a problem all across the NHS.

“It is not so much about cuts but the lack of increase in funding, while the volume of patients continues to increase.

“Our primary aim is to give safe quality of care and we are doing that.”

In September 92.3 per cent of patients attending the emergency department at Sherwood Forest Hospitals were either treated and discharged or admitted to a ward for further treatment within four hours.

This ranked the trust in the top 35 out of 134 NHS trusts. The national target is 95 per cent.

Over the period of 2016/17, the trust achieved 94.48 per cent.