James Paget Hospital chief executive to step down

The chief executive of an under-fire Norfolk hospital has announced she is to step down in six months' time.

Wendy Slaney, chief executive of the James Paget University Hospital, has announced her retirement from the NHS and has given the required six-month notice period prior to her departure.

Ms Slaney said: 'It is with real regret that I have taken the decision to relinquish my post as chief executive at James Paget University Hospital.

'This decision has been taken in the best interests of patients and staff and for the trust. In coming to my decision, I have thought long and hard about the best way forward for all our staff and patients. The longer term interests of this hospital and its patients and staff are of greater importance than my own position.

'By taking this step, I hope there will be the chance for a smooth transition and allow for a new approach to meeting the challenges this organisation faces and ensure a successful future for the James Paget University Hospital. It is my belief that it is not to the benefit of staff and our community to enter again into the inevitable public furore on this matter or fuel any further media speculation regarding my position at this hospital.'

It is understood Ms Slaney will remain in post until a successor has been recruited and until that time it is 'business as usual'. The Gorleston hospital has had a torrid few months, after it was issued with a second formal warning by a watchdog, following a third critical inspection report.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said the 544-bed hospital needed to improve standards of care or face further action, after it found major concerns around the way the hospital was monitoring and assessing its own care.

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Interim chairman Peter Franzen, who took over following the resignation of John Hemming last month, said: 'I would like to reassure staff and the local community that leadership and continuity will be maintained at the James Paget while a successor to Wendy is sought. As interim chair, it will be my task to ensure a smooth transition as the hospital takes the opportunity for a new approach in meeting the challenges facing the NHS.

'The James Paget needs a little breathing space now and I sincerely hope that this hospital is given time to rebuild and recuperate and come back stronger than ever.'

Ms Slaney added: 'I will be very sad to leave the trust when the time comes. This is a very good hospital with excellent people working here. I remain very proud of what everyone has achieved and continue to deliver to meet the enormous demands placed upon us. My executive colleagues will continue to lead on ensuring we meet the required standards for the benefit of our patients and they have my full support.'

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