Bedford Hospital chief executive to leave

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The chief executive of Bedford Hospital is to leave.

Joe Harrison is set to join Milton Keynes Hospital NHS Foundation Trust as chief executive officer.

Mr Harrison joined Bedford Hospital in February 2011 and has led the introduction of a wide number of clinical changes.

Fiona Wilson, interim chair of Bedford Hospital NHS Trust, praised his work. She highlighted improvements including new ward structures to improve patient care, 24/7 consultant and matron cover, and ensuring the trust meets a tough efficiency and savings challenge.

She said: “The board fully supports Joe’s decision in accepting the position at Milton Keynes Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

“He has placed Bedford Hospital firmly on the road to securing a sustainable future, both in ensuring the Trust’s involvement in the Healthier Together programme and in leading the Trust to pursue actively a partnership with an existing foundation trust to guarantee its long-term clinical and financial viability.

“Although no decisions on either Healthier Together or Bedford’s future partner have been made, we know that forging excellent local clinical networks and working as a local health system, rather than as organisations in isolation, give us the best chance of delivering the best possible care to patients in a way that is sustainable in the tough economic climate we face.”

She added: “Joe will continue to provide leadership and stability until his departure. To prepare for that we will obviously be looking to get the appropriate accountable officer structures in place, which is something we will discuss at future board meetings.”

Mr Harrison said: “Whilst I am clearly delighted to be joining Milton Keynes, I am also tremendously sad to be leaving Bedford – a trust I feel passionately about and continue to be very proud to lead.

“I remain absolutely committed, personally and professionally, to securing Bedford Hospital’s future for local patients and to making sure we continue to deliver on all our quality, performance and financial targets this year.

“We face a tough few months to the end of the financial year, and my focus will be on supporting the organisation to continue to improve the quality of care we provide to patients whilst meeting our largest ever savings target. The commitment of staff at all levels to delivering better quality more efficiently is as outstanding as ever and I know that dedication, professionalism and steadfastness will continue without distraction.”