• Shared interim leader appointed at Rotherham FT
  • Richard Jenkins will start in February and currently runs Barnsley Hospital FT
  • The two trusts already run a number of joint services

Two small general hospital trusts are to share a chief executive under an interim arrangement.

Richard Jenkins, the current chief executive of Barnsley Hospitals Foundation Trust, has been appointed as the interim chief of nearby Rotherham FT.

He will join Rotherham on a part-time basis for 12 months from February, and will combine the role with his existing position at Barnsley, which he has led for more than two years.

The two south Yorkshire trusts already run a number of joint services and share a workforce director. They are in the same integrated care system, although Rotherham FT is closer geographically to Sheffield than Barnsley.

Barnsley FT — a small general hospital — has maintained strong accident and emergency performance and seen referral-to-treatment performance well above average in recent years. It has run a relatively small deficit in recent years, but is forecasting a small surplus for this year. 

Rotherham FT chair Martin Havenhand pointed out that Dr Jenkins was “one of the few medically qualified and clinically active chief executives in the UK”. 

He specialised in diabetes and endocrinology, has been a Health Foundation leadership fellow, and has worked as a medical director of Mid Yorkshire trust, as well as at Barnsley before becoming chief executive in 2017. 

“We already have a strong working relationship with Barnsley, which has allowed us to come up with this solution while we recruit to the role on a permanent basis,” he added.

Dr Jenkins said of his appointment: “Both Barnsley and Rotherham share similar issues and our two trusts can learn from each other and I will be working with strong and dedicated management teams in both organisations.”

Last month, Rotherham FT’s chief executive since 2013, Louise Barnett, announced she was leaving to take up a new role as chief executive of Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust.

She will join SATH ahead of a controversial reconfiguration of its acute services, which involves downgrading the provider’s emergency department, based in Telford, to an urgent care centre.

The trust is also subject to an independent inquiry, launched by former health secretary Jeremy Hunt, into more than 200 cases of potentially poor maternity care.