Two neighbouring trusts that had been considering a merger have seen five substantive and nine interim or acting chief executives over the past five years, an HSJ/Capsticks survey reveals.

Kettering General Hospital Foundation Trust is led by an interim chief who has been in post less than two months while Northampton General Hospital Trust last week appointed a substantive chief executive.

Lorene Read

Lorene Read

Kettering’s most recent substantive chief executive, Lorene Read, left last month, saying she accepted responsibility for the trust’s poor accident and emergency performance over the past winter. Since then it has had three acting or interim chief executives, one of whom left due to family illness.

Northampton’s previous substantive chief executive, Gerry McSorley, left in March saying he did not wish to lead it through a merger. It has had two acting chiefs executives since. It is now led by former medical director Dr Sonia Swart.

Proposals to merge the two organisations have now stalled.

One senior figure in the East Midlands said several factors could explain the area’s high leadership turnover. He told HSJ nearby trusts might be more attractive to NHS managers and suggested the former strategic health authority NHS Midlands and East had not done enough “succession planning”.

He also cited political opposition to reconfiguration in Kettering and a health economy with too many “non-viable district general hospitals”.


More than a third of hospital chief executives in post less than a year