Chairman of failing hospital steps down

Former Queen Elizabeth Hospital chairman, Edward Libbey. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Former Queen Elizabeth Hospital chairman, Edward Libbey. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

The chairman of a failing Norfolk hospital has stepped down after deciding a change in leadership was necessary to fix problems found by inspectors.

Sir Henry Bellingham. Picture: Ian Burt

Sir Henry Bellingham. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

Edward Libbey told the governors of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), in King's Lynn, of his plan to leave, with immediate effect, on Monday afternoon.

He said: 'This is not a decision I have come to lightly and I am sad to be leaving. However, the end of my second and final term of office is approaching and I feel certain that the time is now right for me to depart.

'While many of the problems highlighted in the QEH's CQC report are already being addressed, underlying the report is the requirement for significant cultural change within the organisation. Cultural change takes time and the work needed to deliver it must start immediately.

'Having occupied this seat for approaching five years, I believe that a change in board leadership is the right thing for the trust at this point.

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'While fully accepting the issues identified by the CQC, I should also like to say how proud I am of the many achievements that have been made at the trust during my time here.'

David Thomason, the board's current vice chairman, will take over until a new permanent appointment is made.

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Mr Libbey added: 'I grew up in King's Lynn and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital holds a special place in my heart. The esteem in which the hospital is held in the community and the dedication of its staff has been, and will continue to be, a source of great pride for me. I would like to thank all those staff who work so hard for our patients and my board colleagues who have supported me over the years.'

Dale Bywater, NHS Improvement's executive regional managing director for the Midlands and East, said: 'NHS Improvement would like to thank Edward for his dedication to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the community it serves, as well as his wider contribution to the NHS. We wish him well for the future.'

Sir Henry Bellingham, MP for North West Norfolk, said he was 'very sad' to hear the news.

He said: 'Edward has been in his position for the past four and a half years, and led the trust during a very difficult time when they were coming out of the previous special measures programme. Since then he has done a first class job and presided over some truly excellent improvements, which are of enormous benefit to my constituents.

'Whilst it is highly unfortunate that the QEH has gone back into special measures I do have every confidence in their new recovery plan and I do think it is very sad Edward will not be there to see this through.'

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