• Sir Andrew Morris to leave Frimley Health FT next year
  • Named HSJ’s Top Chief Executive earlier this year
  • Sir Andrew has led the trust since 1989
  • He will lead accountable care system part time in 2018

One of the top acute chief executives in the NHS has announced his retirement this afternoon.

Sir Andrew Morris will leave Frimley Health Foundation Trust in February, having led the organisation for 29 years.

Sir Andrew, who was top of HSJ’s list of Top Chief Executives earlier this year, is one of the longest standing trust leaders in the NHS.

He will continue to run the Frimley Health and Care accountable care system on a part time basis from 1 April 2018. He currently leads the ACS in addition to his chief executive role.

He joined the NHS in 1974 aged 19 and was appointed general manager of Frimley Park Hospital in February 1989. He was appointed chief executive in 1991.

Andrew Morris

Sir Andrew Morris has led the Frimley trust since 1991

Under his leadership, Frimley Park established a Ministry of Defence hospital unit in 1996 and became one of the first FTs in 2005.

Sir Andrew also led the takeover of the troubled Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals FT to form Frimley Health FT. The rapid turnaround in the quality of care at the hospital was widely recognised and attributed to his leadership.

Frimley Park was the first trust to be rated outstanding by the Care Quality Commission.

Sir Andrew was knighted in January 2015 for services to public health.

He said: “It has been a privilege to work for our local hospitals. For me healthcare is a people business and I have worked with some outstanding colleagues. I am proud of what we have achieved together over the years.”

He also described establishing integrated care and a more collaborative system as “unfinished business”.

Sir Andrew added: “We have already made great progress with the Frimley system and we have been identified as an area that can pioneer improvements the rest of the country can follow. I want to help make that happen.”

NHS England national director for operations and information Matthew Swindells said: “I’m delighted that Sir Andrew will continue to lead the ACS in Frimley… having a leader of his calibre in charge of creating a population health focus in one of our best health systems and showing the way for the rest of the NHS shows how important the ACSs are to the NHS’s future.”

NHS Improvement chief executive Jim Mackey said: “Sir Andrew is a great example of what NHS leadership should be.

“He cares deeply about patient care, the service generally and the staff he leads, and he displays NHS values in everything he does.

“He is also a very humble and grounded man and is one of those rare people who is universally respected and liked in equal measure. In many ways, he is an NHS leadership great and can be justifiably very proud of his career and legacy.”

Frimley Health chair Pradip Patel is beginning the process of finding Sir Andrew’s replacement.