Workforce and Training


Managers brought in to run services in North Devon Healthcare Trust

Managers at Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (RD&E) will take over the running of North Devon Healthcare Trust (NDHT) for two years in a move aimed to provide “leadership and management support” to the struggling trust.

The agreement between the two aims to help the NDHT by addressing the challenges it faces in “continuing to provide acute services and to ensure that the health needs of the population of northern Devon continue to be met.”

The NDHT — which was said to ‘require improvement’ after a CQC inspection late last year — will receive management support from RD&E, with a dedicated senior management team based at each acute hospital site in Barnstaple and Exeter.

Current RD&E chair James Brent will be appointed chair of both trusts, replacing NDHT chair Roger French, who is retiring from the board on 30 June. Suzanne Tracey, chief executive at RD&E, will become the accountable officer and chief executive of both organisations. There will continue to be two separate boards and statutory.

Yesterday, Suzanne Tracey told BBC Radio Devon that the plans were not a merger. “We are at capacity at the RD&E, so it's not immediately obvious how that could happen.

"This is much more about how we stabilise service and ensure it is properly staffed to deliver safe care," she added.

Commenting on the draft agreement, Tracey said that colleagues in the two trusts had worked together for a number of years to sustain clinical services and to help tackle the challenges it has faced.

“We now need to do more and I am pleased that we are in a position to ensure that the health needs of the population in northern Devon are not disadvantaged compared to the wider population in Devon,” she commented.

‘No secret’ of challenges faced

Andy Ibbs, interim chief executive at NDHT said the trust have made “no secret” of the challenges in the most acute hospital in Devon, adding: “Our staff have been amazing in how they have continuously risen to the challenges with their hard work and innovations, but we now need additional support.

“We have worked closely with the RD&E for a number of years to try to address the difficulties we face and we are very positive about this agreement, which will formalise this support to help ensure people in northern Devon receive the best possible clinical care.”

After meeting with board members, North Devon MP Peter Heaton-Jones said the collaboration was done to ensure acute services could continue to be delivered in Barnstaple.

He noted: “Last year, the NHS England review concluded rightly that all services should be retained at the NDHT?, but set the challenge of doing so in a sustainable way. This new arrangement does just that, and means we can share resources and expertise to our long-term advantage.”

Regional director of NHS Improvement and NHS England south west, Jennifer Howells, said the agreement “demonstrates the commitment” of leadership teams of both trusts, adding: “Working with the RD&E through this agreement, and with ongoing support from NHS Improvement, I am confident that NDHT will have the best possible support to make the necessary, sustainable improvements that will enable them to provide the quality of services patients expect from the NHS.”

Judy Jones, non-executive director at NDHT, has also confirmed that she will be stepping down from the board at the end of June.

The move still has to be approved by both trusts in early June. If approved, the new arrangement will come into effect on 18 June.

Enjoying NHE? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Image credit: Dominic Lipinksi 


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment


national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

Councillors fear identity crisis following CCG merger

22/06/2018Councillors fear identity crisis following CCG merger

Members of one of Kent’s leading councils have voiced their concerns against an upcoming merger between CCGs in the area. Cllr Wendy P... more >
Top NHS England boss to leave the organisation

22/06/2018Top NHS England boss to leave the organisation

NHS England’s chief financial officer will leave the post after 11 years. Paul Baumann CBE, who joined NHS London in 2007, and took up... more >
Most urgent primary care services ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’

22/06/2018Most urgent primary care services ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’

Over eight in 10 primary care services are providing good care, despite mounting work force and commissioning pressures, the CQC has said. A... more >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital e... read more >

last word

Hard to be optimistic

Hard to be optimistic

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, warns that we must be realistic about the very real effects of continued underfunding across the health service. It’s now bey... more > more last word articles >

the scalpel's daily blog

The impact of NICE on cardiovascular disease prevention

06/06/2018The impact of NICE on cardiovascular disease prevention

Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive and director Health and Social Care at NICE, looks into what can be done to decrease cardiovascular disease nationally and how to prevent missed opportunities in the future. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) accounts for just over a quarter of deaths and affects around 7 million people in the UK. ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >


Getting more out of our medicines

20/06/2018Getting more out of our medicines

Paul Chrisp, programme director of medicines and technologies at NICE, describes how the organisation is re-purposing drugs in order to improve p... more >
Under attack

20/06/2018Under attack

One attack against an NHS worker is one too many. But unfortunately, the trend in recent years has been alarmingly upwards, with no part of the N... more >
Lessons from WannaCry

20/06/2018Lessons from WannaCry

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, a member of the Public Accounts Committee, warns that the UK Government must take seriously the threat of a more soph... more >
A hostile environment

20/06/2018A hostile environment

Dr Terry John, chair of the BMA’s international committee, gives his thoughts on the government’s visa and immigration policy and its... more >


Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

24/01/2018Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

The NHS plays a part in the country’s wellness – but it’s far from being all that matters. Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Pu... more >
Cutting through the fake news

22/11/2017Cutting through the fake news

In an era of so-called ‘fake news’ growing alongside a renewed focus on reducing stigma around mental health, Paul Farmer, chief exec... more >
Tackling infection prevention locally

04/10/2017Tackling infection prevention locally

Dr Emma Burnett, a lecturer and researcher in infection prevention at the University of Dundee’s School of Nursing and Midwifery and a boar... more >
Scan4Safety: benefits across the whole supply chain

02/10/2017Scan4Safety: benefits across the whole supply chain

NHE interviews Gillian Fox, head of eProcurement (Scan4Safety) programme at NHS Supply Chain. How has the Scan4Safety initiative evolved sin... more >

health service focus

View all News