The strong partnership working which has played an important role in helping two Tees Valley and North Yorkshire hospital trusts to meet the challenge of COVID-19 is to be maintained and strengthened beyond the pandemic – an unprecedented threat to health that does not respect organisational boundaries.
North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust (NTHFT) and South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (STHFT) are to create a new strategic board, which will bring members of the two boards together to tackle common issues that affect both trusts, while continuing as separate statutory organisations.
The two trusts are the area’s largest employers, with almost 15,000 staff, and by continuing to work closely together beyond the pandemic, both organisations hope to make a bigger and lasting impact by:
- Working with local communities and partners to help improve the health and wellbeing of the populations they serve.
- Tackling the health and care inequalities that COVID-19 has exacerbated.
- Playing a leading role in helping to bring inward investment into the Tees Valley and North Yorkshire.
- Strengthening the recruitment and retention of specialist doctors and nurses.
Working more closely together will also give both trusts a stronger collective voice as they look to secure the capital investment needed to rebuild and upgrade existing hospital facilities in Teesside and North Yorkshire.
To help take forward the ambitious agenda, the two trusts are to create a new joint chair role. The recruitment process for a permanent joint chair is expected to start in March and conclude in the summer and, until then, Neil Mundy will become interim joint chair of both trusts from 2 February.
Neil has extensive experience in executive, non-executive and trustee roles in the public, private and voluntary sectors, over 20 years of which has been with the NHS.
He is currently convener for the NHS Integrated Care System for the North East and North Cumbria and has previously served as the chair of South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust and as a non-executive director for Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.
The changes have been led by Paul Garvin and Alan Downey, the two chairs of North Tees & Hartlepool and South Tees respectively, who have championed closer ties between both trusts and will be handing over when Neil Mundy takes the reigns as interim joint chair and the organisations embark together on the next step in their journey.
Paul Garvin, chair of NTHFT, said: “Working together has been important in enabling health services in the Tees Valley and North Yorkshire to respond to COVID-19 and I am very pleased that the benefits of closer working between both trusts will continue beyond the pandemic.”
Alan Downey, chair at STHFT, said: “I am delighted that the boards and governors of the two trusts have agreed to the establishment of a strategic board and the appointment of a joint chair. These are very positive steps which will benefit patients and lead to better health and care outcomes for the population we serve.”