New boss for troubled hospitals trust

A NEW boss has been appointed to lead the local hospitals following the promotion of the current chief executive.

John Goulston will wave goodbye to Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Trust (BHR) to become head of provider development at NHS London, helping trusts into foundation status.

The Trust manages Queen’s Hospital, in Rom Valley Way, Romford, and King George Hospital, in Goodmayes

Although he leaves behind a record �117m deficit and troubled times for A&E and maternity serivces, his three-year stay has been declared a success by some.

Interim chair of the trust Edwin Doyle said: “John has transformed the quality of patient care, gaining the Trust accreditation as a Hyper Acute Stroke Unit, reducing its absolute mortality and improving the experience for patients, with complaints down by nearly half.”

Speaking about his move, John said: “BHR has made great progress on improving quality, recruiting skilled staff and working more efficiently during my three years as chief executive. There is more work to do, particularly in reducing our historic deficit and developing the trust’s foundation trust trajectory.”

Romford MP Andrew Rosindell praised Mr Goulston’s record at the Trust.

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“We still have problems at the Trust, especially with the debt,” he said. “but there have been gradual improvements in the years that Mr Goulston’s been there. He’s certainly been the best NHS manager I’ve ever worked with.”

However, lIlford North Conservative MP Lee Scott said he would like to have seen a more “robust approach” from Mr Goulston in protecting hospital services, including the A&E at King George.

“The record deficit is still there,” he said. “It has not been alleviated in any way. The measures put in place don’t seem to have worked. But it’s important to say he inherited that deficit from his predecessor.”

Taking over from Mr Goulston is Averil Dongworth - the outgoing CEO of Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals.

She has led the north London trust since February 2004, having joined it from Barnet Primary Care Trust, where she was also chief executive.

Mr Doyle said: “Averil has a wealth of experience in both hospital and out-of-hospital healthcare. She brings with her experience in turning around a trust faced with very similar challenges to those we face at BHR.”

Deborah Wheeler, executive director of nursing is acting chief executive until Averil joins the Trust at the beginning of February.

The lows and highs of John Goulston’s watch:

November 2007

Mr Goulston is branded a “ray of hope” as he takes the reigns from outgoing chief exec Mark Rees. The trust is �40m in debt and has an appalling superbug history.

February 2008

Mr Goulston promises to employ a crack team to plug the Trust’s financial blackhole. An ambitious three-year plan promises to turn the debt into a small surplus by 2010; it includes hiring out unused space as private wards.

June 2008

Mr Goulston is in the firing line of councillors after patient files and scans are found dumped in a Stepney Green street.

October 2008

A centre of excellence for stroke care at Queen’s, and an expanded maternity service, are just some of the high-profile objectives of a ten-year plan drawn up by Mr Goulston. Stroke care at the trust goes on to win a nationl award in 2010.

December 2008

The Healthcare Commission declares the trust is in the top five in the country for best hygiene.

September 2009

The Trust is branded one of the worst in England in a dismal Department of Health evaluation. Patient care and financial management are both strongly condemned.

October 2009

More bad news as the Trust is named worst in the country in a scathing report from health watchdog the Quality Care Commission (CQC). The Trust now languishes in �100m of rolling debt – a welter of new measures is promised.

December 2009

The Trust is named as the most innovative in London for patient care by a health body.

April 2010

The Trust is threatened with sanctions – and even closure - after CQC inspectors found serious problems in hospitals

December 2010

The trust is once again marked poorly by assessors for its maternity, stroke care and mortality services, but Mr Goulston insists the figures are outdated, pointing to improved death rates, and award winning stroke care. The Trust’s debt continues to freewheel, currently standing at �117m.