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Provider collaboration in north east London gathers pace

Front cover of closer collaboration document

Two NHS trusts in north east London are strengthening their close collaboration through a series of key executive and Board appointments. 

These posts support Shane DeGaris as successor to Alwen Williams at Barts Health in a new role as group chief executive (and accountable officer) for both the Trust and Barking, Havering, and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT).

The two bodies are increasingly operating as a wider group of NHS hospitals while retaining the sovereignty and independence of both boards under their chair in common, Jacqui Smith. 

In recognition of this shared leadership, Matthew Trainer, chief executive of BHRUT, will be designated group deputy chief executive from 1 August. He will be a voting member of the Barts Health board, balancing Shane DeGaris on the BHRUT board. 

Jacqui Smith set up a joint committee of both boards to oversee the collaboration and appointed three joint non-executive directors. Lesley Seary is already on the BHRUT board; Kathy McLean is on the Barts Health board; as is Prof Sir Mark Caulfield of QMUL who will now be university representative on both.

Meanwhile three new non-executives are to join the Barts Health board: Helen Spice, Joni Ferns and Sarah Teather. Barts Health will also recruit a chief operating officer to take on the operational responsibilities that Shane DeGaris previously held as its deputy chief executive. 

Jacqui Smith said: “Across the country NHS organisations are increasingly working together to provide integrated care for the benefit of their patients. These collaborations take different forms in different places but share a commitment to improving the quality of care, operational performance and financial sustainability.

“We are putting in place arrangements to ensure Barts Health and BHRUT together enhance our services, working with Homerton Healthcare NHS Trust as part of a broader collaboration delivering improvements for the people of north east London.”

Helen Spice was chief executive of the charity Turning Point, which helps people with mental health, substance misuse and learning disabilities. She is currently a non-executive director for Great Western Hospitals NHS Trust and the Make-A-Wish Foundation and chairs the Mental Health and Employment Partnership. 

Joni Ferns is acting chief executive of the charity Police Now, which helps the police recruit a diverse workforce. A former management consultant specialising in social enterprises, she is also a trustee of Kite International, a youth-led body helping students create development projects for disadvantaged communities. 

Sarah Teather is director of the Jesuit Refugee Service, a faith-based body in east London helping destitute asylum-seekers which worked closely with Barts Health during the pandemic to overcome vaccine hesitancy and provide outreach clinics for hard-to-reach groups. She was formerly a Liberal Democrat MP and Minister of State for Children and Families in the coalition government.

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