King’s Mill bosses step aside after merger delays

Kings Mill Hospital.
Kings Mill Hospital.

King’s Mill Hospital’s chief executive and chairman will step down from their roles after a planned merger with Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust was put on hold until next year.

Peter Homa and Louise Scull joined Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs King’s Mill and Mansfield Community Hospital, in September to streamline the merger of the two trusts.

The merger was announced in February following another damning inspection of King’s Mill by the Care Quality Commission in 2015,

The CQC found that King’s Mill was in a worse state than when it was first placed in special measures two years earlier - with the trust failing to improve in all but one of the 18 targets set in 2013 - while it was performing significantly worse in many areas.

Although it recently emerged that Sherwood Forest Hospitals had made significant progress in meeting CQC concerns.

But the merger, initially set for completion by the end of the year, has now been forced back into 2017 - causing uncertainty for staff and patients at both trusts. Although it is still anticipated that the merger will go ahead.

Chief nurse Mandie Sunderland, who is currently overseeing nursing operations at both trusts, will similarly return exclusively to her Nottingham role.

Both Mr Homa and Ms Scull will also retain their positions with Nottingham University Hospitals.

Mr Homa (pictured) said: “We agreed to take on these additional responsibilities for a short-term period. Now that the timings have moved beyond 2016, we believe it is in the best interests of patients and staff at NUH and SFH that the chair, chief nurse and chief executive can dedicate themselves to each trust, their patients and staff through this next period.

“We remain very much committed to providing Nottinghamshire patients with consistently high quality care and both organisations are working together to review the best way of achieving this shared goal. Much progress has been made at SFH during 2016 to improve patient safety and care quality, supported by the closer working of both organisations.”

Peter Homa and Mandie Sunderland will remain in post at Sherwood Forest Hospitals until succession arrangements are formalised.

Peter Marks, Vice-Chair at Sherwood Forest will take over as Acting Chair from Monday October 24.

It is intended that Peter Herring, currently managing director, will be appointed as the new chief executive subject to formal approval by the board early next month.

He said: “Our partnership with NUH has supported us in delivering a number of improvements, particularly in terms of aligning our clinical services to result in more efficient and higher quality patient care. We remain very much committed to building on the extensive work already undertaken, and to continuing to develop and strengthen our joint working.

“I would like to put on record my thanks for Louise and Peter for the part they have played at SFH whilst serving as Chair and Chief Executive, and look forward to continuing to work with them both as we develop the partnership between both organisations.”

However, the move has been criticised by Ashfield Mp Gloria De Piero.

She said: “I am extremely disappointed to hear of yet another change in leadership at Sherwood Forest Hospitals Trust.

“I believe that many of its well-documented problems stem from a lack of consistent leadership and it is just not good enough.

“The doctors and nurses at King’s Mill Hospital work their socks off to deliver top notch care to patients. They deserve stable leadership.

“I will be seeking reassurances from the trust that patient safety and the quality of care provided by King’s Mill is not affected by yet another change at the top.”