Chief quits on health grounds at hospital with theatre deficit

CHIEF executive at Barnsley Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Sandra Taylor announced yesterday that she is resigning her post on health grounds.

In the short term, chairman Stephen Wragg will run the hospital trust, until an interim replacement is appointed.

Mr Wragg said the board had "reluctantly" accepted Ms Taylor's resignation and praised her efforts in helping to develop the hospital over the last two-and-a-half years.

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He said: "Her commitment has been first class and has undoubtedly contributed to our top marks in a range of areas. We wish her well in the future."

Ms Taylor's departure comes after some upheaval at the hospital trust over recent weeks.

Earlier this month, it was announced that three theatre managers at the hospital were being put on "gardening leave" after it was revealed their department was running at a 2.2m deficit.

An external management team was brought in, which was tasked with first "stabilising the situation" and then improving the department's performance.

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And, in February, nurses at the hospital threatened to refuse to work overtime in protest at the creation of a new 75,000-a-year director's post.

Ms Taylor took over as chief executive at Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in October 2007, joining the trust from Berkshire, where she worked as a project director overseeing a revamp of health services.

Prior to that, during a 25-year career in the NHS and local government, she held senior management positions with Surrey and Sussex Strategic Health Authority, Birmingham City Council, Leicester City Council and Nottinghamshire County Council.

Ms Taylor said yesterday: "Barnsley is a super high-performing hospital that it has been a privilege to lead.

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"Over the time I have been here there have been significant changes to improve services for local people and to ensure the environment and clinical practice is of the highest standard of cleanliness and safety.

"However, this achievement is not done without an enormous amount of effort and dedication, and a recent personal health scare has reminded me of the energy and sheer drive that will be needed in coming years.

"The recent negative and entirely unjustified publicity about the hospital's surgery division has also reminded me of the personal stresses involved in leading change, and the importance of having strong support and effective managers to enable leaders to maintain a healthy work life balance.

"The time now appears right to hand over the baton of leadership to someone with similar energy and passion for this tremendous local hospital, to lead the next phase of change."