Hospitals chief to go after trust misses key targets

Maggie Boyle
Maggie Boyle
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THE chief executive at Yorkshire’s biggest NHS trust is set to stand down weeks after bosses admitted they would miss key financial targets for the second year running.

Maggie Boyle will leave Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust next month after six years in charge.

Her departure from the £220,000-a-year post will come after she was at the forefront of an acrimonious row with NHS chiefs over the safety of children’s heart surgery at Leeds General Infirmary.

But it also follows another hold-up to the trust’s long-delayed bid for elite foundation status due to a combination of failures to hit key financial and performance targets.

The problems proved the trigger for the NHS Trust Development Authority, which has taken over responsibility for overseeing 101 trusts which have not achieved elite foundation status, to place it into its “escalation process” for struggling organisations.

A new chief executive for Leeds is yet to be identified but a wider management shake-up is going ahead.

In a statement yesterday, Miss Boyle paid tribute to staff for their achievements during her time at the trust.

She added: “I believe the move to new management arrangements which will see a clinically led, managerially supported structure being established is absolutely the right thing to do and will have enormous benefits for patient focused care delivery.

“I would like to wish the senior leaders and all of their staff all 
best wishes for a successful future.”

The trust, which will earn an income in 2013-14 of more than £1bn for the first time, was expected by health chiefs to run up a £10m surplus in 2012-13 which is seen as a key to achieving rigorous standards required of foundation trusts.

But it missed the target and has announced it will do so again in the current financial year after admitting it could not achieve the £24.5m savings required. Instead will aim to break even although it still needs to make savings of more than £13m to do so.

The trust’s A&E units at the infirmary and St James’s Hospital have also failed to hit key waiting time targets although a general deterioration in performance in casualty departments has been seen across the country.

The trust is now among more than 40 nationwide, also including the debt-ridden Wakefield-based Mid Yorkshire NHS trust, which have fixed no date for foundation applications as required by Ministers.

In contrast, four other organisations from the region are expected to forge ahead with plans for foundation status in coming months including Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals, Yorkshire Ambulance Service, Bradford District Care and Leeds Community Healthcare trusts.

Seventeen others in the region have already achieved it.

The rate of progress of NHS trusts towards foundation status, which is seen as a marker of excellence although a number have been mired in failure notably the scandal-hit Mid Staffordshire trust, has slowed in recent years partly because many face significant problems, while the worsening financial climate means more are struggling to meet strict criteria.

Delays have been further exacerbated by the findings of the Mid Staffordshire inquiry, which has led to a renewed focus on the quality of care.

Fourteen NHS trusts face such severe problems they are not considered viable in their current form – none are in Yorkshire.

Leeds and the Mid Yorkshire trust are among 42 now expected to make foundation bids between 2014 and 2016.