• Devon STP appoints Phillipa Slinger as its lead chief executive
  • Ms Slinger was improvement director for three troubled Norfolk trusts
  • HSJ understands a former CQC hospital lead is to take on Norfolk role

Devon sustainability and transformation partnership has appointed an improvement director who was overseeing three troubled Norfolk trusts as its lead chief executive.

Phillipa Slinger spent just over two years overseeing Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals, and Norfolk and Suffolk foundations trusts and Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn Foundation Trust, all of which are in special measures.

Ms Slinger said on Twitter: “Have completed two and a bit years as an improvement director. Loved it and worked with many, many amazing people all doing their best for patients. Thank you.”

HSJ understands Alan Thorne, a former CQC head of hospitals inspections, will replace Ms Slinger in Norfolk.

The Devon role represents another significantly challenging role for Ms Slinger, an experienced NHS trouble-shooter, although the area has recently recorded improvements. The health economy was one of three put in the “success regime” in 2015, a central programme for troubled health economies, which also included Essex and Cumbria.

The STP’s only clinical commissioning group, Devon CCG, announced in April it had broken even for the first time in its history, with the help of £20m of commissioner sustainability funding.

The £1.8bn CCG, however, has a cumulative deficit of around £177m. As well as addressing the huge historic deficit, other priorities included the area’s elective waiting times.

The county is the biggest outlier in England for the number of patients waiting over a year for treatment. Figures for February 2019 revealed that of the 2,045 patients waiting more than a year across the country, 461 (22.5 per cent) of them were referred to treatment at Devon’s four acute providers.