The chief of executive of Brighton and Hove’s main NHS hospital trust has sent a farewell message to staff as he leaves to take up a similar job in Kent.
Matthew Kershaw joined Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust (BSUH) almost three years ago and left yesterday (Thursday 24 December).
The trust runs the Royal Sussex County Hospital, the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital and the Sussex Eye Hospital among others.
Mr Kershaw spoke about the final funding approval for the £485 million modernisation programme known as “the 3Ts redevelopment” and the opening of the Emerald Unit for patients with dementia.
He touched on the innovative Pharm@sea outpatient pharmacy service and bring “soft FM (facilities management)” – cleaning, catering and portering – back in-house.
He also spoke about the “serious cultural issues” within the trust – with allegations of racism and bullying surfacing at times. And the challenges of tackling waiting times in the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department.
Mr Kershaw also paid tribute to the “most committed and passionate people” who staff the trust, adding: “It has been an honour and a privilege to work with you.”
His message in full, sent out on Monday (21 December), said: “This is my 144th and last weekly message to you all as Christmas Eve is my final day at BSUH.
“As I said previously, the last three years have been the most challenging and rewarding of my career.
“As chief executive a lot of my time is focused on the areas where improvements need to be made but it is important that we don’t lose sight of the good too and how right we get it for so many people so much of the time.
“BSUH is full of the most committed and passionate people and it has been an honour and a privilege to work with you.
“There are way too many highlights from my time here for me to fit them into my final message but I do want to mention a few.
“Of course the high profile moments including the reconfiguration of neurosurgical, fractured neck of femur and urology services as part of the major trauma centre work, securing Treasury approval for the 3Ts redevelopment and signing the contract with Laing O’Rourke are up there.
“But so too is opening the Emerald Unit, the ‘hybrid’ cardiac theatre and Pharm@sea – the first venture of its kind in the NHS and a real BSUH success story.
“On a more personal level I am very proud of the Foundations for Success initiative and the work we have done in the name of our Values and Behaviours Programme to firstly admit that we had some serious cultural issues in our organisation and then to positively set about doing more to support our staff and address these.
“The job is by no means complete but I hope you agree that we are in a better place on this than we were.
“I am also proud of the decision to bring our Soft FM services back in house.
“It was a really difficult call which I was fully aware would give us a whole new set of complex issues to manage at a time when we were already swamped.
“But I was sure it was the right thing to do for our staff, the staff providing these services and most importantly for our patients and it is a decision I would make all over again if I had to.
“On an even more personal level running the Marathon for the Friends of Brighton and Hove Hospitals is also a memory I will always cherish.
“Finally, I couldn’t finish this message without mentioning unscheduled care.
“This has been, and remains, one of our toughest challenges but thanks to a huge amount of hard work on our wards, in our emergency departments and in the community we are seeing some consistent improvement in our performance.
“The number of patients coming to the ED and being admitted has not decreased so the fact the hospital is definitely starting to feel different and patient flow has improved is because of the ‘Right Care Right Place Each Time’ work on our wards alongside the capacity and acute floor changes we are making.
“Last Thursday we had a follow up ‘risk summit’ on unscheduled care and the clear message from this was keep doing what you are doing because it is working.
“Over the next few days I will be out and about as always so will hopefully have the chance to thank and say goodbye to many of you in person.
“I do though want to finish my final message by thanking you all for your dedication, compassion and for the positive difference you make to the lives of many thousands of our patients.
“My sincere good wishes for Christmas, the new year and the future. I will miss BSUH very much.”