• Cumbria Partnership announces Stephen Eames as new interim chief executive
  • Mr Eames will take up the post from September when Claire Molloy joins Pennine Care
  • He will hold the position alongside his role as chief executive of North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust

The leader of an acute hospital trust been appointed the interim chief executive of the neighbouring mental health and community trust.

Cumbria Partnership Foundation Trust confirmed on Tuesday that its board of directors has appointed Stephen Eames as interim chief executive.

Mr Eames will take up the role when Claire Molloy leaves to be chief executive of Pennine Care FT in September. He will carry out the job in addition to his position as chief executive of North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust.

The move is a step towards the possible integration of the two trusts, which HSJ revealed in March could result in a joint leadership team.

The trusts agreed a memorandum of understanding in April to create a provider alliance group, which will pave the way for an accountable care organisation for north Cumbria.

Mr Eames is chair for the alliance and also lead of the west, north and east Cumbria sustainability and transformation partnership.

The alliance will help develop key elements of the ACO and is expected to take responsibility for:

  • “tactical commissioning functions”;
  • integrated care delivery, common operating models, pooled budgets and delegated authority;
  • shared leadership; and
  • common back office functions.

North Cumbria University Hospitals and Cumbria Partnership are also in discussions over a bilateral agreement that is expected to lead to further integration including shared leadership, appointments and support services.

Both organisations will continue to have separate boards.

Cumbria Partnership’s board approved Mr Eames’ appointment at a meeting on 29 June.

Mr Eames said: “Since I took up the role at North Cumbria in January 2016, significant progress has been made including getting out of special measures and improvements in performance.

“Our organisations have been working very closely and successfully together for some time and that is something which can be further built on for the benefit of all staff and patients accessing services provided across both of our organisations.”

Mr Eames will take responsibility for all Cumbria Partnership’s services, including those in the south of the county outside the STP and North Cumbria University Hospital’s footprints.

Cumbria Partnership’s board also agreed to consider sharing a chair with North Cumbria University Hospitals. Current chair Mike Taylor was due to retire in October but has tendered his resignation so governors can appoint an interim.