Brighton hospital trust welcomes fourth ‘chief executive’ in just over a year – and another one’s on the way

Posted On 26 Jan 2017 at 11:21 am

Brighton and Hove’s main hospital trust has welcomed a fourth “chief executive” in 14 months with the boss of a neighbouring trust expected to take over at the start of April.

Evelyn Barker became the accountable officer at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust on Monday (23 January) which runs the Royal Sussex County Hospital.

She replaces interim chief executive Gillian Fairfield who spent her last day at work at the trust last Friday (20 January).

The trust runs the Royal Sussex, the Royal Alex Children’s Hospital, the Sussex Eye Hospital – all in Brighton – and the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath.

And on Saturday 1 April the baton will pass to Marianne Griffiths, who will become chief executive while continuing in the same post at Western Sussex Hospitals.

Gillian Fairfield joined the trust at the start of April last year. She replaced another interim chief executive Amanda Fadero who, in turn, replaced the last substantive chief executive Matthew Kershaw, who left in December 2015.

Evelyn Barker

Evelyn Barker


Evelyn Barker has joined from a trust in Cambridgeshire which runs Addenbrooke’s Hospital. The CQC said last week that it was a good trust, lifting it out of special measures after it was previously rated inadequate.

She joins the Brighton trust (BSUH), which is in special measures, as it prepares for another CQC inspection in April.

Interim trust chairman Tony Kildare emailed staff to say: “Most recently Evelyn has been interim chief operating officer at Cambridge University Hospitals for just under two years.

“Prior to that she undertook interim executive assignments at a number of challenged organisations and has a wealth of NHS board-level experience.

“Evelyn will be with us for at least the next 12 months as accountable officer until Marianne Griffiths and the executive team from Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust officially pick up the reins on (Saturday) 1 April and as part of Marianne’s team going forward.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr Gillian Fairfield who has been our interim chief executive since last April.

Gillian Fairfield

Gillian Fairfield


“Gillian arrived at BSUH in the same week as the Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection team and the 12 months since have been, by anyone’s standards, exceptionally challenging.

“Gillian has helped us to navigate through this difficult period and make real and lasting improvements in the areas identified by the CQC as needing urgent attention.

“On behalf of the board I would like to thank her for her contribution and in particular her commitment and focus to drive up quality for our patients. We wish her well for the future.

“I would also like to thank our chief operating officer Mark Smith who leaves at the end of this week to take up the role of deputy chief executive and chief operating officer at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust.

“I realise the last few weeks since Christmas have been exceptionally difficult for everyone, compounded over the last week by the problem with the lifts in the Barry Building, which made matters even harder than they already are.

“I remain so very impressed by how everyone pulls together when the going gets particularly tough and by the unwavering commitment I see every single day from our staff to keeping our patients safe and comfortable by delivering the best possible care. My thanks to you all.

Tony Kildare

Tony Kildare


“I also want to thank our clinical leadership teams who have provided stability and continuity during this very unsettling and unpredictable period and who remain resolutely focused on the job we are here to do.

“Finally I want to mention Johnny Wiseman, one of our porters, who I met last Tuesday, 40 years to the day since he joined BSUH.

“It was such a privilege to hear from Johnny about the many changes he has seen over the years.

“The passion he has for the work he does was genuinely uplifting and meeting him only served to reinforce my long-held belief that it is the cheerful, hard-working, committed majority of our staff who are, and always will be, the lifeblood of our trust.”

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