Experienced former NHS chief brought in to oversee hospital services reforms

The University Hospital of Hartlepool
The University Hospital of Hartlepool

An experienced former NHS boss has been drafted in to oversee a review of hospital services across Tees Valley and County Durham.

Sir Ian Carruthers will work with health trust bosses on the region’s Sustainability and Transformation Plan, looking at ways to improve co-operation and increase efficiency.

Sir Ian Carruthers

Sir Ian Carruthers

The plan has already proved controversial, with a reorganisation initially suggested that would have seen either Stockton’s University Hospital of North Tees or Darlington Memorial Hospital lose their A&E department by 2020.

Following feedback, including a series of campaigns against the idea, health bosses confirmed the closure proposals had been scrapped.

But work is continuing to find better ways of working across the NHS to deal with demands from an increasing elderly population.

Now Sir Ian has been brought in to oversee look at new ways of promoting co-operation across the region.

A former acting chief executive of the NHS, he has held a number of high-profile advisory roles, who has published a number of papers on improving the NHS.

Alan Foster, sustainability and transformation partnerships lead for the North East and North Cumbria, said Sir Ian’s experience would make him a valuable addition.

“Sir Ian Carruthers has been commissioned by the chief executive officers of County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, North Tees and Hartlepool Foundation Trust and South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust,” said Mr Foster.

“The scope of his work will include facilitating joint working arrangements across trusts, and exploring opportunities for greater cohesion and alignment between trusts, to ensure the delivery of improved services and operational efficiencies across Durham, Darlington, Tees and Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby, as a contribution to wider health economy improvement.

“Sir Ian Carruthers is a former senior NHS leader who will bring extensive experience of health systems to this work which will now be taken forward over the next few months.”