Working in Collaboration
On 10 January 2020 Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (KGH) and Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust (NGH) announced our commitment to create a Hospital Group.
This new approach would see our two hospital trusts and their leadership teams working in collaboration to strengthen health services across the whole of Northamptonshire, rather than working independently and, in some respects, in competition.
Over the last year, we have taken some important steps towards creating our Hospital Group, for example:
- We have appointed our new Group leadership team alongside our existing joint Chair, Alan Burns, as follows: Simon Weldon Group CEO (July 2020); Mark Smith, Group Chief People Officer (August 2020); Andy Callow, Group Chief Digital and Information Officer (December 2020); Jon Evans, Group Chief Finance Officer (June 2021); and Teresa La Thangue, Group Director of Communications, PR and Engagement (June 2021).
- Because this is a collaboration and not a formal merger, we have strengthened hospital leadership teams to ensure appropriate focus on the needs of each Trust. Two Hospital Chief Executives have been appointed: Debbie Needham, KGH; and Heidi Smoult, NGH. Whilst both Chief Executives play an important leadership role, Simon Weldon remains the only accountable officer for both hospital Trusts.
- Clinical colleagues are working together to align our clinical services across the Group where appropriate. To support this work, we have appointed six joint clinical directors and some of our services, including Breast Surgery, Cardiology and ENT, have already started to develop collaborative ways of working between teams at both hospitals.
- The Covid-19 pandemic has enabled us to demonstrate stronger resilience by working together across both hospitals. Our people have been working more flexibly than ever across both organisations, supporting services where the patient need is greatest; and we have been able to make decisions and choices across both hospitals that previously we would not have made together.
- We have been collaborating across the Group to define what we want the future to be. More than 1,000 staff, patient representatives and others have been directly involved in our work to develop our vision, mission and values. Many more have heard about our emerging direction of travel and have had the opportunity to become more actively engaged. The discussion and feedback during engagement events and various other activities has not only been both valuable and enjoyable, but also instrumental in shaping and strengthening our proposals for the future.
As two hospital trusts we face a range of challenges, from meeting the growing demands of an ageing population, to providing consistently high-quality care with the financial and other resources we have available, and making sure we have the right number of staff with the appropriate skills.
As a Hospital Group we will be able to tackle these challenges together, helping to ensure that services across Northamptonshire will be sustainable and fit-for-the-future.
We have an ambitious vision for the Group, and one which enables us to realise far greater benefits for our patients and staff than we would ever be able to achieve as separate hospital Trusts.
Alan Burns, Group Chair