Tunbridge Wells Hospital on road to recovery

    Chartered accountant heads team to pull NHS Trust out of the red

    The man charged with giving Tunbridge Wells Hospital a clean bill of health, Simon Worthington, took up his new role as Financial Improvement Director last week in order to oversee the trust’s debt reduction programme.

    His appointment on August 22 comes after the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust was put into special financial measures in July when auditors discovered its deficit was forecast to rise to £23million in 2016-17.

    Funding for Mr Worthington’s position will come directly from NHS Improvement (NHSI).

    He will be working alongside the trust’s Chief Executive, Glenn Douglas, and other board members to come up with a viable plan to balance the books over ‘the coming months’, with NHSI stating they expect improvement ‘within that time frame’.

    A spokesman for the trust said Mr Worthington will be its primary day-to-day contact for special measures, adding:

    “He will oversee on behalf of NHSI the actions the trust is taking to develop their financial recovery plan and reduce its financial deficit.”

    Mr Worthington has been Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Finance at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust since 2013, where he supported a similar financial turnaround.

    Simon Worthington

    Bolton NHS Foundation Trust is now rated as ‘Good’ by the Care Quality Commission and is in financial surplus.

    A chartered accountant by profession, Mr Worthington worked at South London Healthcare NHS Trust as Deputy Director of Finance prior to moving to Bolton.

    Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust was one ßof five NHS organisations to be placed in financial special measures last month alongside Barts Health in London, Croydon Health Services, Norfolk and Norwich Hospitals and North Bristol.

    Fears have been raised that the special measures could lead to a decline in patient care after it emerged that the trusts will no longer be fined for missing the 62-day target for cancer treatment, the four-hour A&E target or the 18-week goal for routine operations.

    To exit special measures the trust must generally have, as a minimum, a robust recovery plan setting out the key changes required to remedy the provider’s financial problems, approved by its board and by NHSI.