Single Chair for Acute Trusts of North West London to Support More Collaboration
The National Health Service of Northwest London has agreed to appoint a single chairman for its four emergency funds – the Chelsea and Westminster Health Foundation, the Imperial College Health Foundation, the Northwestern University London Health Foundation and the NHS Foundation of Hillingdon Hospitals.
The four organizations have already forged closer partnerships, working through a joint emergency council set up in March 2021 after the Covid-19 pandemic demonstrated the positive impact of closer collaboration. The Council works to make the best use of the collective resources of the trusts and to offer patients more comprehensive and consistently high quality care.
Now, with existing or upcoming vacancies for chairpersons in each of the trusts, organizations are seizing the opportunity to work under a single chair. The move follows similar approaches across the country and reflects broader NHS policies. NHS England and the Improvement endorsed this approach, as did the relevant trust’s Board of Governors at their meetings this week. A transparent recruitment process will now be developed, along with further consideration of how one chair will interact with individual trust boards and committees.
Working as a team has been of immense benefit to both patients and staff throughout the pandemic. Our trusts remain separate entities responsible for meeting their budgets and standards. However, with an increased focus on how we operate not only as individual trusts, but also as the NHS of North West London, we have an added incentive to ensure that we all fulfill our commitment to service excellence and efficiency. This is likely to require more collaborative planning, benchmarking and sharing of experiences across the four trusts and the broader health system.
Trusts also remain committed to continuing strong site targeting. Each of the 12 trust hospitals will have to meet clear objectives and performance standards. We will also rely on local relationships and partnerships, both to support shared care and to develop the role of our hospitals as “anchor institutions” supporting local communities and the economy.
To formalize a closer partnership, the trusts are developing a cooperation agreement, which, we hope, will be concluded by early autumn.
* In trust funds (such as Chelsea Hospitals, Westminster and Hillingdon), the chairpersons are appointed by the trust itself with the support of its Board of Governors. NHS England / Improvement appoints NHS Trust Presidents (e.g. Imperial College Healthcare)