David Clayton-Smith, Chair of East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust has announced his intention to step down after nearly three years in the role. David, who will continue to focus on his portfolio of other non-executive positions in health and science, will remain Chair of the Trust until his successor is recruited.
David became Chair of ESHT in January 2016, during a particularly challenging time in the organisation’s history. In September 2015, the Trust was placed in special measures and was not meeting important targets.
In its latest (June 2018) CQC report, the Trust was rated as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ in almost all of the services inspected, and was taken out of special measures for quality. The CQC specifically praised the leadership at the Trust.
During David’s tenure as Chair, the Trust has seen significant improvements and has a growing reputation locally. Set against rising demand for services, the Trust has seen improvements in the quality of care it provides, with patients increasingly rating their care highly. More emergency department patients are being seen and treated within the four hour period, and there has been a transformation in the culture at ESHT, towards one that values transparency and openness.
However the Trust, alongside the local health and care system, remains seriously financially challenged, and the focus for David’s successor will be on maintaining the quality improvements, whilst returning to financial balance.
David Clayton-Smith said: “When I took over as Chair in January 2016, the Trust was in a very difficult position. Working together we have addressed a number of challenges, listened to members of staff, and built the relationship between the Trust and the local community. Having overseen such positive change over the last three years, I believe that now is the time for a refresh, with the Trust continuing its quality transformation and financial recovery with a new Chair.
“It is a tribute to the Trust’s staff, volunteers and board that we have been able to make such progress. I am confident that ESHT is on course to continue to improve, giving the people of East Sussex a health and care service of which they can be proud.”
Chief Executive, Dr Adrian Bull said: “I want to pay tribute to David’s significant achievement as Chair of the Trust. With his passion and determination to ensure the delivery of a quality service to patients and the local community, he has provided strong leadership of the board through a period of significant change and improvement at the Trust. We are grateful to him for his energy and commitment. More personally, we are sorry to lose the great support that David has given to the board.”