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University Hospitals of North Midlands Trust

STP chair resigns before plan is published

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  • Staffordshire STP chairman John MacDonald has resigned
  • The Staffordshire STP may be one of the last to be published and is expected to be revealed next month 
  • Mr MacDonald, chairman of UHNM, said he wanted to focus on the “immediate challenges” facing the trust

The leader of Staffordshire’s sustainability and transformation plan has resigned ahead of the five year strategy being published.



John MacDonald, who is chair of University Hospitals of North Midlands Trust, stepped down from his role as STP chair last week, LGC’s sister title Health Service Journal reports.

Staffordshire is one of the last English regions yet to publish its STP plan. HSJ has been told the STP may not be revealed until at least the middle of next month.

In a statement Mr MacDonald said he was stepping down as STP chair to focus on the challenges facing his trust.

He had been leading the process since April 2016. His replacement has not yet been appointed.

In a statement issued by University Hospitals of North Midlands he said: “I am pleased to have taken the STP up to the stage where we submitted our draft plan and made considerable progress in developing a shared view as to how our local health and care system needs to be developed.

“This is a good point at which to hand the baton over, as I now want to focus on the immediate challenges faced by University Hospitals of North Midlands, and to oversee the development of our two year operational plan. I look forward to continuing to support the STP in my role as UHNM chairman.”

Several senior sources told HSJ Mr MacDonald’s work had been positive and valued by commissioners and providers alike and that he had intended to step down once the STP was published.

Mr MacDonald’s decision comes as Stafford and Surrounds CCG issued a 12 month contract termination notice to Burton Hospitals Foundation Trust over the future of services at two community hospitals. The hospitals in Tamworth and Lichfield together have more than 60 beds and cost the CCG £14m a year.

The notice, which was issued outside of the STP process, was part of efforts by commissioners to “galvanise” action on changing services at the two hospitals to provide more GP, outpatient and day case services as well as improved diagnostic capabilities.

HSJ has also been told providers and commissioners in Staffordshire have recently come under increasing pressure from NHS England’s Midlands and East regional team over poor financial and operational performance. One source said the STP will not deliver financial balance until 2020-21, which was “incompatible” with demands for the system to be turned around sooner.

Relationships between commissioners and providers in Staffordshire are known to have been problematic for a number of years. A leaked KPMG report last year described the county as having an “oppressive culture” and being in “perpetual crisis mode”.

The report said this “insular” culture led to “relatively poor behaviours”.


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