After years of collaboration and creating closer working ties, the Boards of Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust and St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have agreed to form a hospital group, with a Group Chief Executive at the helm.
By formalising these working partnerships, the two hospital trusts will be able to bolster their clinical and non-clinical workforce, making the teams larger and therefore more resilient to the challenges modern healthcare may bring in the future, as well as offering local people greater access to a wider range of NHS services. The two Trusts will collaborate more closely on research, staff development, education and training, which will continue to make a vital contribution to the quality and sustainability of clinical care into the future.
As a group model (which is already working well in a number of areas across the country), the two Trusts will share a Chief Executive and a number of other key leaders, as well as the existing role of Joint Chairman. Each Trust will continue to have its own Board and the organisations are not merging, meaning both Epsom and St Helier, and St George’s will remain as statutory organisations in their own right.
Jacqueline Totterdell – who has been Chief Executive Officer at St George’s since May 2017 – was appointed following interview to the position of Group Chief Executive on Tuesday 3 August. Jacqueline is an experienced and accomplished leader, having led a number of NHS Trusts, and most recently taken St George’s out of quality and financial special measures, also leading the south west London acute hospitals system during the COVID pandemic and subsequent recovery.
The current Chief Executive of Epsom and St Helier, Daniel Elkeles, has recently accepted the role of Chief Executive with the London Ambulance Service. Daniel has played a key role in developing the collaboration between the two Trusts, working closely with the St George’s leadership and the ESTH Board.
Joint Chairman Gillian Norton said: “This is an exciting development for both Epsom and St Helier and St George’s – the group allows us to strengthen the professional networks we have already created and ensure the two hospital trusts continue to run efficient and high quality services for the benefit of the people we serve.
“For our patients and the vast majority of staff, nothing outwardly will change – the hospitals will all continue to operate as they are, services will remain, and our commitment to providing outstanding care to the patients who need us will stand strong. But behind the scenes, by sharing skills, expertise and resources in some areas, we can ensure that both organisations are better able to take on the challenge of growing demand on our services – this will bring benefits to our patients for years to come.
“Collaboration between the two hospital trusts has been happening for some years now, with the renal teams from both Trusts recently beginning public engagement on bringing together renal inpatient services into a brand new renal unit. The two Trusts have agreed to work together on the future for Patient Transport Services and Epsom and St Helier recently joined the South West London Pathology Partnership (an award-winning NHS pathology partnership that brings together these vital services into one team) with the agreement that the service will have two main bases, one at St George’s and one at St Helier. In addition, during Covid, the two organisations teamed up on a major collaboration on the Novavax vaccine trial and are moving towards interoperable Electronic Patient Records systems. There is a huge amount to be proud of in this work, and so we are delighted to be building on this strong foundation and formalise the partnerships and networks we have already created.”
The two organisations will remain committed to the strong partnerships we have built with local health and care systems in Merton, Wandsworth, Sutton and Surrey and wider strategic partnerships with Integrated Care Systems in South West London and Surrey Heartlands. The development of the Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Sutton, as part of the Building Your Future Hospitals programme, will continue as planned.