Sarah-Jane Marsh is to be appointed chief executive officer of Birmingham Women’s Hospital Foundation Trust, a role she will take on in addition to her current job in charge of Birmingham Children’s Hospital FT.

  • Sarah-Jane Marsh to lead Birmingham Women’s FT alongside Birmingham Children’s FT
  • The trusts will keep seperate chairs and boards
  • Ms Marsh to lead review of Birmingham Women’s redevelopment plans

The move throws into doubt the long term future of a £70m redevelopment project at Birmingham Women’s, which is closely associated with former chief executive Ros Keeton, who departed last month.

Although some clinical commissioning groups have joint accountable officers, and sharing chiefs is an established practice in local government, this is believed to be the first example of a single individual leading more than one NHS provider on a permanent basis.

Andrew Foster, chief executive of Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Foundation Trust, is currently running Birmingham’s troubled Heart of England Foundation Trust on an interim basis.

Ms Marsh will take over at Birmingham Women’s on 1 July.

Sarah Jane Marsh

Sarah-Jane Marsh will review Birmingham Women’s rebuild plans over the next 100 days

Both Birmingham Children’s and Birmingham Women’s are planning to rebuild, and have discussed building a single new hospital, or two new ones on a single site. Ms Marsh will spend the next 100 days leading a review of Birmingham Women’s rebuild plans, and will consider a range of options, including rebuilding with the children’s hospital, and a standalone solution.

Options under consideration for Birmingham Children’s include rebuilding on their current site to the north of the city centre, or moving to the “campus” in the south currently occupied by Birmingham Women’s and University Hospitals Birmingham FT.

Under Birmingham Women’s “VITA” programme, the trust planned a significant rebuild of many essential services including maternity, fertility and gynaecology, along with accommodation for families. This project was separate to the discussions with the children’s hospital about a total rebuild of both hospitals, which is a longer term project.

VITA was to be financed with a £70m loan – the trust’s annual turnover in 2013-14 was £92.7m.

According to the trust’s strategic plan for 2014-15, without VITA it would “not be sustainable in five years’ time”.

The trust’s “best case scenario”, which included a plan for financing VITA, assumed its income would grow by over 15 per cent in cash terms by 2021, and that the trust’s annual surplus would increase to over £5m by 2022.

VITA is now understood to be “on hold” while Ms Marsh reviews Birmingham Women’s Hospital’s wider rebuild plans.

Birmingham Women’s and Birmingham Children’s will remain separate organisations with separate chairs and boards for the foreseeable future. However, if the trusts agree to rebuild on a single site, a merger would be considered.

A Birmingham Women’s Hospital FT spokeswoman told HSJ: “The trust will now be pausing the progression of the building element of VITA whilst we complete this critical piece of work with BCH. All the work which has gone into VITA remains key to future planning. VITA’s clinical modelling, service and workforce transformation work will now refocus and inform the 100 days project.”