A chief executive who has overseen a turnaround of a newly merged trust has been named HSJ Awards Chief Executive of the Year.
The prestigious award was given to Lesley Watts of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital FT at a ceremony in London last night.
She took over at Chelsea and Westminster in 2015, months before it was due to acquire West Middlesex University Hospital Trust.
Both the hospitals were at the time rated “requires improvement” by the Care Quality Commission, and have since both been rated “good”.
In addition to her chief executive role, Ms Watts is senior responsible officer for the North West London Sustainability and Transformation Partnership. She joined Chelsea and Westminster from East & North Hertfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group where she was accountable officer, is a nurse and midwife by background, and has previously worked as a health authority chair.
The awards judgement said: “The judges felt that Lesley showed truly outstanding, engaging and sensitive leadership of the trust and her work with partner organisations to deliver improved performance and patient outcomes.
“She is direct, honest and empathetic, providing an inspiring way forward in challenging circumstances by listening to staff, patients and partner organisations to build a shared view of the future.
“Her personal example shows not just her skill in leading a large and complex trust in a dynamic and challenging environment but her day-to-day work ‘at the coal face’ shows to everyone the strength and depth of her commitment to patients and colleagues.”
The trust’s performance against the emergency department four hour target for type one patients on a quarterly basis has outperformed the rest of London, and England, by a growing margin. It has been above 90 per cent since quarter one of 2017-18, albeit still below the 95 per cent target.
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