• Panniker becomes latest NHS chief to take over second trust
  • She will become chief of both Basildon and Mid Essex
  • Move follows other senior chief executives taking over leadership of other trusts 

STRUCTURE: Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals Foundation Trust’s well-regarded chief executive Clare Panniker is to take over the leadership of neighbouring Mid Essex Hospital Services Trust, the trusts have announced.

Ms Panniker will be chief executive of both trusts in what they are calling a “joint role”. Mid Essex’s acting chief executive, Cathy Geddes, will return to her substantive role of Chief Nurse on 1 May, the trusts said.

Ms Panniker becomes the latest NHS chief executive to take control of a second trust following University Hospitals Birmingham Foundation Trust chief Dame Julie Moore taking on Heart of England FT, and Salford Royal FT chief Sir David Dalton taking over Pennine Acute Hospitals Trust.

A joint statement by the trusts said: “Clare will continue in her role at BTUH, along with her role as chief executive for the overarching committee which is leading the collaboration of three local hospitals under the mid and south Essex success regime.

“For the past two years Clare has been working closely with MEHT to identify ways to improve collaboration between BTUH, Southend Hospital and MEHT. Clare will be at MEHT for an initial 12 month period and will split her time equally across the trusts’ sites.”

The move follows Ms Panniker being appointed to head a new leadership team overseeing all three of the hospitals in the south and mid Essex success regime – Basildon; Southend and Mid Essex. The new leadership team will run the three struggling Essex trusts, which have combined revenues of £840m, as a “network” of hospitals with a “flexible workforce”

System leaders hope the new structure will pave the way for a significant reconfiguration of acute services as they grapple with how to balance an estimated £216m overspend across the mid and south Essex health economy by 2018-19.

Ms Panniker said: “I am delighted to be given this opportunity to lead MEHT. This is an opportunity to develop a clear vision and direction for acute healthcare services across both Trusts, identifying opportunities for collaboration where appropriate with the aim of improving the care we deliver for our patients.”

The news follows the announcement earlier this week that Colchester Hospital University Foundation Trust was ordered to partner with Ipswich Hospital Trust or face potential liquidation.