‘Stability at the top’ key concern for Whittington Hospital bosses following departures

14:00 02 May 2014

Interim chief executive of Whittington Health Simon Pleydell said ensuring stability at the top was a key goal for the trust. Picture: Polly Hancock

Interim chief executive of Whittington Health Simon Pleydell said ensuring stability at the top was a key goal for the trust. Picture: Polly Hancock


Stability at the top has become a major priority for the leadership team at the Whittington Hospital after a series of sudden departures.

Amid uncertainty over the future of the hospital, interim chief executive Simon Pleydell told the Ham&High efforts to “steady the ship” had now become a key focus for the 

“At the moment we don’t have a settled team,” admitted the former chief executive of South Tees Hospitals Foundation Trust.

“We have a number of members of the board who are interim appointments – including myself – so we need to make sure we attract the best people for those posts and build a steady team that can take the organisation forward.

“There’s obviously a big correlation between stability of leadership and confidence among staff and the community.

“Recruiting a good team will help improve that.”

Whittington Health, the trust which runs the hospital in Magdala Avenue, Archway, has seen several of its board members quit over the past few months, prompting further speculation of unrest.

This includes the shock resignation in March of chief executive, Dr Yi Mien Koh.

Mr Pleydell said it could take six to nine months before the trust can develop a clearer vision of the hospital’s future.

Integrated care and gaining Foundation Trust status are said to be pivotal features of the trust’s future.

Rebuilding bridges with the community is also seen as a major goal for the board.

It follows the disastrous plan to sell off some of the hospital’s buildings last year, a project that prompted mass protests and led to an embarrassing U-turn.

“Community engagement is easy to say but it’s not easy to do well,” said Mr Pleydell.

“One thing you notice when you come to the Whittington is how much the local population loves their hospital.

“We need to make sure we have a shared vision with the community about what the future of the organisation will be.

“Perhaps there isn’t enough clarity at the moment, but that will come.

“I’m a firm believer that trust is created through actions and I think the important thing for everyone to do is to sit down and work together.”

Shirley Franklin, of Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition, welcomed Mr Pleydell’s comments.

“Instability at the top has bred anxiety among both staff and the community,” she said.

“We want to have a positive relationship with the board but that can only happen if the community can trust them.

“Mr Pleydell seems to be someone who is committed to the NHS.

“What we don’t want is privateers or people imposing cuts – we want to protect our hospital from that.”

The trust admits one of its challenges is balancing the books.

While refraining from mentioning “cuts”, the trust admits there are a number of “efficiency savings” which could be made.

This includes fixing the “high amount spent on agency staff” and “reducing unnecessary waste”.

But Mr Pleydell – a chief executive for over 15 years – said the community and hospital staff should be confident about the future.

“I am a very experienced pair of hands so I know what good looks like,” he said.

“And the performance of this organisation is really good.

“There may be some challenges but we have some terrific clinical teams here – and that’s a key strength.”


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

9 minutes ago

A colourful man-about-town has reformed his fringe political party on the back of the Brexit result - which he said is “a step in the right direction” towards abolishing the existing system

Yesterday, 16:26

Controversial plans to build a 10-storey “big ugly block” of luxury flats in Hampstead were last night waved through by Camden Council.

Yesterday, 07:00

A row has broken out over plans to dig out a basement car park and swimmming pool next to Hampstead Heath.

Thu, 17:15

A heritage campaigner has told of his devastation after he watched raiders ransack a disused pub that he fought to preserve.

Thu, 15:45

A historic red phone box in Highgate Village could soon be a tiny office space, complete with printing, scanning, copying and wifi

Thu, 11:00

Camden parents were forced to pay a total of £20,000 in school fines in the last year, new figures have revealed.

Thu, 07:08

This year’s Hampstead Christmas Festival has been called off, the Ham&High can reveal.

Wed, 19:00

The vicar believes the flags were taken down on both occasions as part of a targeted ‘homophobic attack’ on his church’s open and inclusive values

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news


Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot


Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now