Whittington Hospital: Trust’s chair Steve Hitchins announces he will stand down immediately

Board meeting at the Whittington Hospital on 01.11.17. Steve Hitchins (Chairman)

Board meeting at the Whittington Hospital on 01.11.17. Steve Hitchins (Chairman) - Credit: Archant

The chair of the Whittington Health Trust, Steve Hitchins, has stood down.

The announcement was made during a board meeting at the hospital, in Archway, yesterday. He was due to step down in September, but has instead resigned and left immediately.

The board meeting also heard it had reported three never events this month, which had taken place in May 2018, January 2019 and May 2019. These are the most severe errors and failings in a hospital's care. Financially it is £1.5 million in deficit this year, and £1.8m behind where it should be to budget.

Mr Hitchins started the role in 2014. He had previously been leader of Islington Council.

Shirley Franklin, who chairs the Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition said she believed his departure was linked with the deal between the trust and Rydon, which was shelved last year.

She said: "It's good riddance. This is overdue and he should have gone ages ago. He made a dreadful decision when he led the Rydon deal.

"We need to make sure somebody comes in who cares about patients and staff and doesn't privatise any more services. The estate strategy is up for grabs and we don't have any private beds. I am not sure how safe that situation is."

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Siobhan Harrington, the trust's chief executive said: "As chair, Steve worked tirelessly to ensure that Whittington Health provides the best possible services to our patients and the whole community. He has given over five years of dedicated and conscientious service so on behalf of The Board and all of my colleagues from across the organisation I would like to thank him.

"Steve is a passionate advocate for Whittington Health, its staff and the integrated care services we manage both in the community and hospital, we would not be in the strong and confident position we are today had it not been for his efforts and hard work. I wish him all the very best for the future."