Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital chairman David Prior looks set to quit

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust chairman David Prior. He could be set for a new role with a health watchdog.

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust chairman David Prior. He could be set for a new role with a health watchdog.

© Keiron Tovell Photography 2012

The chairman of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has announced that he is likely to be leaving his post in the new year.

David Prior, who has been chairman of the hospital trust, which includes the N&N and Cromer and District Hospital, for just over 10 years, has been named as the preferred candidate to take over as chairman of health watchdog the Quality Care Commission.

If that appointment is ratified by the Select Health Committee, it will mean the former North Norfolk MP will leave the N&N role in the new year.

Staff at the hospital were told about Mr Prior’s probable departure in a statement today.

He said: “I wanted to let you know as soon as I could that early in the New Year I may be leaving the Norfolk and Norwich as I have been selected as the preferred candidate for the post of chairman of the Care Quality Commission, subject to confirmation by the Health Select Committee.

“I joined the trust a little over ten years ago and although we have had our fair share of local difficulties, I have loved every minute of it.

“Our two hospitals provide great care and treatment often in very challenging circumstances and we are able to do that because we have wonderful people.

“Wherever I go in Norfolk, and indeed beyond, I am proud to tell people where I work. I am also proud to be a part of the NHS, unquestionably a powerful force of moral good and, for all its imperfections, a good healthcare system.

“If I am successful, I will miss the camaraderie, the sense of purpose, the walk rounds, the corridor conversations and even those interminable meetings and dreaded performance metrics.

“I hope what I have learned here from you I will be able to use in my new role at CQC, not least the relentless commitment to improving the quality of patient care.

“There have been times that I thought I would only leave the trust via the mortuary. I am going slightly earlier than planned because the CQC provided a unique opportunity and challenge which I could not resist and it will provide me with the perfect excuse to inspect your progress at regular intervals.”

Mr Prior warned his colleagues to expect difficult times ahead, with Norfolk’s ageing population likely to put pressure on the health service.

He said: “I know there will be tough times ahead and that difficult decisions will be required not least because the clinical needs of an ageing population will be difficult to meet when finances are so tight.

“However, I have complete confidence in the commitment, integrity, ability and judgement of the senior executive and clinical team.

“I have no doubt that under their leadership, and with the talented and dedicated staff, the trust will continue to provide great clinical care and outcomes and develop further its teaching and research capabilities.

“Thank you for all your support over the years and for your friendship and kindness.”

Mr Prior, a barrister, has previously worked with Lehman Brothers, Lazards and British Steel. His appointment as chairman has a remuneration of £22,235 per year.

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