• Matthew Hopkins, former Barking, Havering and Redbridge CEO, to move to Worcestershire Acute
  • Mr Hopkins says his experience of financial difficulties at former trust will help in the new role
  • To start at Worcestershire Acute in January 

A chief executive who left a London hospital trust amid financial failure will take the helm of one of the West Midlands’ most troubled trusts.

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust has appointed Matthew Hopkins as its new chief executive.

Mr Hopkins had been chief executive at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust since 2014, but stood down in July due to trust’s deteriorating financial position.

The decision came a month before the publication of a review that recommended his removal, stating that Mr Hopkins had not sufficiently grasped the trust’s financial difficulties as well as highlighting broader financial governance failures at a board level.

Mr Hopkins will take over a trust already running a large deficit, which remains in quality special measures and has been rated “inadequate” by the Care Quality Commission.

In announcing the appointment, trust chair, Sir David Nicholson, said: “Matthew is a highly experienced NHS leader with a strong track record of delivering significant improvements in quality and safety of patient care, empowering and engaging staff and building strong partnerships across health and care systems.

“His dynamic leadership has transformed a number of trusts facing very similar challenges to those we face.”

In its statement, the trust highlighted Mr Hopkins’ role in leading Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals out of quality special measures in March 2017. Less than a year later, the trust was placed into financial special measures, after, according to NHS Improvement, a “rapid and significant deterioration in its in-year finances”.

Sir David said the Worcestershire Acute had taken Mr Hopkin’s departure from Barking, Havering and Redbridge into account in the appointment. 

“Matthew’s willingness to accept accountability, his attitude and his determination to learn from these setbacks helped to confirm to me that [he] has the insight, commitment and resilience to provide the leadership that our hospitals need,” he said. 

In a statement, Mr Hopkins also acknowledged the circumstances of his departure from Barking, Havering and Redbridge.

“As chief executive, it was right that I accepted accountability for the situation – and the lessons learned will be valuable in shaping my approach to helping Worcestershire Acute plan and deliver a robust financial plan for the future.”

Mr Hopkins joined the NHS as a nurse before moving into health management. He then took on senior roles in a number of large NHS organisations in London, including chief executive at Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals Trust as well as Barking, Havering and Redbridge.

“I am delighted to be joining Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust,” he said. “The trust faces a number of challenges, and it is clear to me that it also has a huge amount of potential and dedicated hard-working people.”

Mr Hopkins also praised the work of his predecessor at Worcestershire Acute, Michelle McKay, particularly her focus on changing staff culture. Ms McKay will leave in January after less than two years in the job.

Dale Bywater, NHS Improvement’s Midlands and East executive regional managing director, said: “We look forward to working with Matthew and the wider leadership team to ensure further improvements are made to patient services in the coming months.”