Former Marks and Spencer chief to help turn around Pilgrim Hospital’s fortunes

Pilgrim Hospital, Boston.
Pilgrim Hospital, Boston.

The boss widely praised for turning around the fortunes of Marks and Spencer will be working with the trust in charge of Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital to help bring it out of special measures.

Sir Stuart Rose has been drafted in by health minister Jeremy Hunt to advise on how to improve leadership and culture in the NHS.

The Department of Health said Sir Stuart will advise the health secretary on how the NHS can build on existing work to recruit top talent from within and outside the NHS. He will particularly look at the problems faced by the 14 trusts currently in ‘special measures’ – which includes United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, which runs the Pilgrim.

In a separate review, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust Chief Executive, Sir David Dalton, will look at how to end the ‘isolation’ of failing hospitals from the best NHS management and practice – a key finding in the wake of the Mid-Staffs inquiry.

Sir David will investigate how good bosses and hospitals can form groups as ‘beacons of excellence’.

A report published by NHS regulators Monitor and the Trust Development Authority shows that the 11 hospital trusts placed into special measures in July, and a further three since October, have each made significant strides towards improving patient care but more still needs to be done.

Mr Hunt said: “Everyone wants the peace of mind of knowing their local hospital offers good care - so turning round hospitals where this is not the case is a critical priority for me as health secretary.

“Good care should never depend on your postcode, which is why new Ofsted-style hospital inspections are so important.

“But the difference between good and bad care can often lie in leadership, which is why I am delighted that one of the country’s most inspirational leaders has agreed to advise me on how we can attract and retain the brightest and best managers into the NHS so we transform the culture in under-performing hospitals.

“We can also do more to exploit the extraordinary leadership in our best hospitals by making it easy for NHS super-heads to take over struggling organisations. Sir David Dalton is one such leader, who with his team has turned the Salford Royal into one of the best hospitals in the country.

“He will advise me what more we need to do to enable our best hospital leaders to take over the running of hospitals in difficulty without compromising the success of their own Trusts.”

Sir Stuart will visit hospitals as part of his role – although it is yet to be decided whether or not it will mean him coming to Boston.

He said: “Clearly the NHS is a very different institution from M&S, but leadership, motivating staff and creating a culture where people are empowered to do things differently are crucial to the success of any organisation, and I’m looking forward to helping in any way I can.”

Sir David Dalton will look at whether hospitals such as ours should be partnered up with others elsewhere in the country – meaning our trust could be lead from managers on the other side of the country.

Sir David said: “The NHS is making encouraging progress in identifying great care but also in dealing with sub-standard care – but in order to take the next decisive step forward, we need to create new NHS organisational models which allow for the best care found in successful NHS Trusts to be extended to those hospitals who experience difficulty in meeting standards for patients.

“I am delighted to accept the Health Secretary’s invitation to examine how strong and stable leadership from our managers and clinicians can make a positive impact. We need to see how we can spread best practice and make more use of both our talented people and reliable systems, for the benefit of more patients.”