Hospitals’ top dog moves on after being headhunted for major NHS role

Samantha Jones is leaving the West Herts NHS Trust for a new role. Below, interim chief executive Jac Kelly
Samantha Jones is leaving the West Herts NHS Trust for a new role. Below, interim chief executive Jac Kelly
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Big boss at West Herts’ three hospitals Samantha Jones is leaving the role after being headhunted to lead a major NHS scheme.

Ms Jones will give up the post of chief executive at Hemel Hempstead, Watford and St Albans hospitals on January 16, with former top dog at the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust Jacqueline Kelly – known as ‘Jac’ – lined up to replace her on an interim basis from Monday.

West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust interim chief executive Jac Kelly PNL-150701-124520001

West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust interim chief executive Jac Kelly PNL-150701-124520001

Ms Jones’ new role will be as Director of New Models of Care for NHS England and she will lead changes to health and care services as outlined in the NHS Five Year Forward View – setting out a vision for the healthcare system’s future.

She said: “I am delighted to have been appointed to my new role. I have enjoyed my time at the Trust and will of course miss the team at Watford, Hemel Hempstead and St Albans hospitals. However, I know they will be in good hands with Jac and the rest of her executive and non-executive colleagues here at the Trust.

“The NHS Five Year Forward View is of fundamental importance to the NHS in England and there is much work to do to take it forward. The NHS is facing many challenges and we need to act quickly to address them.

“I have already met with Jac and will work closely with her to ensure she receives a full handover.”

Ms Kelly has had a long and distinguished career in the NHS, having previously held the role of chief executive at the Somerset Health authority before leading the former North Devon Primary Care Trust.

She was also awarded an MBE for services to healthcare in the Queen’s New Year Honours last week.

The West Herts Trust’s chairman Mahdi Hasan said: “I would like to congratulate Samantha on her new position.

“The NHS Five Year Forward View will undoubtedly have far-reaching benefits for the future of the NHS in England, including our own hospitals.

“Samantha has overseen many significant changes across our hospitals, in particular in improving the quality and safety of the care we provide to our patients. She always puts patients first and is popular with our staff, patients and local people.

“Her drive for openness and transparency are an example to us all.

“I am pleased to have appointed someone with as much experience as Jac to act as Chief Executive on an interim basis. We will start the process of recruiting a substantive Chief Executive shortly.”

Ms Kelly said: “I am delighted to be joining Watford, Hemel Hempstead and St Albans hospitals and I look forward to working with the Board, as well as our nurses, doctors and other staff, to further improve the care we provide.

“Working with our patients and staff, we launched six new values recently and each of them resonates very clearly with me, in particular the importance of being transparent and open about what we do and working in partnership with our staff, local people and other NHS organisations.

“Our hospitals face a significant financial challenge and the team are working hard to ensure we deliver best value for the taxpayer. However, I believe it is possible to deliver safe, good quality patient care and cost effectiveness, not one or the other.”