New Redbridge NHS chief says trust will take three years to turn around

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Matthew Hopkins Matthew Hopkins

A failing NHS trust could take three years to turn around, according to the man appointed to head the organisation from next month.

Matthew Hopkins will begin his temporary role as CEO of Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospital NHS Trust on April 1 and will meet with the Trust’s interim chairwoman, Maureen Dalziel, after five months to review the contract.

Mr Hopkins has worked in the NHS for 29 years. He started his career as a nurse and has been CEO of Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust since 2010.

The trust, which runs King George hospital in Goodmayes, and Queen's in Romford, both of which were the subject of a CQC report which raised concerns over patient safety, was placed in special measures by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in December.

The CQC report claimed the leadership had failed to improve services despite previous warnings, and inspectors found unsafe care in A&E departments at both hospitals and said infection control procedures were insufficient.

Mr Hopkins said: “My priorities will be addressing the areas highlighted by the CQC and also finding out what is causing the problems.

“There are things that can be fixed relatively quickly with teamwork, possibly within the first six months.

“The financial turnaround will take two or three years.

“Good progress can be made in one year but it will take longer to turn around completely.”

He added: “I’m keen to work with staff to understand what’s going well and not so well from their perspective.

“My success in the past has come from building strong and effective teams and I will be seeing how effective the teams are and how they can be improved.”

“From my time as a MacMillan nurse I know the importance of good care and compassion and communicating effectively which, I hope, will reassure staff and patients.”

An NHS spokeswoman said: "Matthew has the qualities needed to ensure rapid improvements for patients and needed to step in with this urgency.

"Any permanent appointments at either BHRUT would be subject to a formal recruitment process."

The role is a temporary position but no other candidates are being considered at the moment.

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