North East NHS leader steps down

Brian Flood
Brian Flood
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One of the region’s most influential and well-respected healthcare leaders is set to retire after 18 years’ service in the North East NHS and 30 years’ service in public office.

Brian Flood, chairman of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, announced yesterday that he will not seek re-election when his term expires early next year.

Mr Flood, 78, has been chairman of Northumbria Healthcare since 1998 when the trust was formed, following the merger of hospitals in North Tyneside, Wansbeck and Hexham, and community services in Northumberland.

During his time as chairman, he has overseen the transformation with Northumbria now rated as one of the safest and best performing NHS organisations in England.

Before becoming chairman of Northumbria Healthcare, Mr Flood served as a non-executive director for North Tyneside Healthcare and, before that, he was leader of North Tyneside Council for 12 years. He began his career in engineering with Rolls Royce and British Gas, before becoming involved in local politics and running his own company in the field of local government reorganisation and modernisation.

In 2006, Mr Flood successfully led Northumbria Healthcare to achieve Foundation Trust status, one of the first organisations in the NHS to do so and, in 2009, announced an ambitious £200million new hospitals development programme to transform emergency care and redevelop community hospitals across the area.

This led to a number of achievements:

l In 2013, the trust opened the new Morpeth NHS Centre, bringing together outpatient and diagnostic services as well as primary care under one roof to deliver better integrated care close to people’s homes.

l In 2014, it opened a pioneering new integrated health and social care scheme in Haltwhistle – the first of its kind in the country.

l In 2014, funding was confirmed for a new £25million state-of-the-art community hospital in Berwick with an estimated completion date of 2018.

l In 2015, the trust opened The Northumbria – England’s first purpose-built dedicated specialist emergency care hospital.

Mr Flood’s biggest passion during his time at Northumbria Healthcare has seen the trust develop one of the longest standing and successful apprenticeship schemes in the NHS with young apprentices becoming an integral part of the workforce.

Over the past 10 years, hundreds of job opportunities have been created for local young people with over 95% gaining full-time employment with the trust.

Mr Flood believes strongly in listening to people’s views, encouraging participation and acting with honesty and integrity at all times. Over the years, he has championed involvement and engagement from local people through the trust’s Council of Governors and was instrumental in introducing the comprehensive patient experience programme now in place at the trust.

Jim Mackey, chief executive of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It has been a real honour and privilege to work alongside Brian over the past 20 years and I would like to thank him personally for his guidance, support and the excellent stewardship he has provided to the board of Northumbria Healthcare.

“It is thanks to Brian’s exceptional leadership that we have been able to really transform our services over the past decade, for the benefit of patient care, and continue to push the boundaries of excellence in everything we do.

“On behalf of the board of directors, our 9,000-strong workforce and all the patients and families we serve across Northumberland and North Tyneside, I would like to thank Brian for his outstanding contribution to the NHS and wish him the very best for the future.”

Mr Flood said: “I am extremely proud to have served the people of North Tyneside and Northumberland over the past 20 years and would like to thank everyone for their best wishes. I will look back on my time at Northumbria Healthcare with great pride and with fond memories, having had the pleasure of working with some of the very best people in the NHS.

“I have no doubt that the trust will continue to excel and my sincere thanks must go to the board of directors whose expertise and commitment will continue to put patient safety and high quality care at the heart of all decisions.”

His track record has been recognised nationally through multiple awards for person-centred care, patient safety, innovation and clinical service redesign including HSJ Provider Organisation of the Year in 2013 and Patient Experience Network Trust of the Year in 2014. Most recently the trust was awarded Best Place to Work in the NHS for 2015 and received a special recognition award at the 2015 Patient Safety Awards and Best Employer in the NHS.

An open process will now begin to appoint a new chairman for the trust.