WORKFORCE: Philippa Slinger has been appointed interim chief executive at Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, on a secondment from local community and mental health services provider Berkshire Healthcare.

It was announced that Ms Slinger will take over from 24 October, following the resignation last month of Julie Burgess. Heatherwood and Wexham Park says the recruitment process for a permanent chief executive is likely to take at least six months, but she will work for the acute provider full time until then.

The appointment was made in consultation with other local NHS bodies. One local NHS source told HSJ that a major board-level shakeup was

Heatherwood and Wexham Park acting chief executive John Wood will become interim chief operating officer and deputy chief executive when Ms Slinger joins the trust.

The recruitment process for a permanent chief executive is expected to take at least six months. A local NHS source told HSJ a major board shake-up at the trust was likely to follow.

Both Heatherwood and Wexham Park and Berkshire Healthcare are currently involved in two major acute and community services reconfiguration programmes.

One, called Shaping the Future for East Berkshire, is aimed at drawing up “clinically sustainable” services for the area. Consultation is expected to begin early next year.

The second, called Care for the Future, covers Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, and is intended to plug a £350m funding gap expected in the area’s health economy by 2013-14. Again, no firm plans have been agreed, but initial recommendations are for three main acute sites in the region, including Wexham Park but not Heatherwood hospital.

Julian Emms, deputy chief executive at Berkshire Heathcare, will become acting chief executive while Ms Slinger is on secondment.

Ms Slinger is a trained mental health nurse, and has led Berkshire Healthcare for more than 10 years through a turnaround programme, including the recent integration of community services into the trust.

Christopher Langley, chair at Heatherwood and Wexham Park hospitals, said: “I am very pleased to be able to welcome Philippa to the trust. She is highly respected within the local health economy and has a deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges in Berkshire, and the needs of our patients.

“I would like to thank John Wood for taking on the role of acting CEO on a temporary basis, and am delighted that he will continue in the critical role of interim chief operating officer and deputy CEO”.

On her appointment, Philippa said: “I am really pleased to have the opportunity to work with Heatherwood and Wexham Park. Having been in the area for over 10 years I know that the staff are highly skilled and dedicated to providing the very best for patients and that the services are valued by the local population.

“I am looking forward to supporting the Trust over the next few months and I know that Berkshire Healthcare will be in excellent hands whilst I am away.”