The chairman of East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (ESHT) this week announced his intention to step down after nearly three years in the role.
David Clayton-Smith, who will continue to focus on his portfolio of other non-executive positions in health and science, will remain chairman of the trust until his successor is recruited.
Mr Clayton-Smith was appointed to the role 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 Care Quality Commission (CQC) report from June 2018, 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.
Mr Clayton-Smith said: “When I took over as (chairman) 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 chairman.
“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.”
During Mr Clayton-Smith’s tenure, the trust has seen improvements in the quality of care it provides despite facing rising demand for services.
Chief executive of the trust Dr Adrian Bull added: “I want to pay tribute to David’s significant achievement as chairman 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.”