The chair of the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) is set to take on the same role at the trust that runs the Royal Preston and Chorley and South Ribble hospitals.Advertisement
Peter White will continue in both positions until his chairmanship of NWAS ends – as planned – in January 2025, in what the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) understands could be the first arrangement of its kind anywhere in England.
Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (LTH) has been without a permanent chair for almost 12 months, in spite of undertaking two recruitment rounds since the last post-holder departed in September last year.
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While joint chairs of acute hospital trusts have become more common in recent years, the LDRS has been unable to find any example of a chair being shared across different types of NHS provider.
NHS England declined to confirm whether the new-set-up was a nationwide first and advised the LDRS to approach the trust instead. LTH said that it was unaware whether or not such an arrangement had ever been entered into in other parts of the country, but its chief executive said he believed that it would be of “huge benefit” to the hospital trust.
Mr White – a former assistant chief constable of Lancashire Police and Commander of its Preston division – will take up the board-leading role at LTH on 1st August. He had a 30-year career with the force – largely based in Central Lancashire – before his retirement in 2013.
Originally from Leyland and now living in the Ribble Valley, he has also held a number of non-executive roles, including being the deputy chair of a community interest company providing social care. He joined NWAS in 2014 as a non-executive director and became chair in February 2019.
Mr. White said in a statement that he was “delighted” to have been appointed to chair LTH.
He added: “I look forward to working with the board of directors and council of governors to help deliver the excellence in healthcare that our communities rightly deserve. As a long-time resident of the area covered by the trust, I, my family and friends have relied upon the care and treatment provided by the staff [there].
“This role, for me, is therefore a very personal one and it is a great privilege to serve in this way.
“I am also continuing in my role as chair of North West Ambulance Service until my appointment term ends in January 2025. I have been a non-executive at NWAS for nearly 10 years and have seen the great work that NWAS staff do day in, day out for the communities we serve.
“It has been, and continues to be, a source of great personal pride to work with NWAS and I look forward to the developments in system-wide urgent and emergency care that will help ensure we are with patients when they need us most,” Mr. White said.
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In his new joint role, Mr. White will be overseeing two huge NHS operations. NWAS is the largest combined urgent and emergency care service in the UK, covering a population of more than seven million people across approximately 5,400 square miles. The organisation has around 6,300 staff and volunteers.
LTH, meanwhile, provides district general hospital services to just under 400,000 residents of Central Lancashire and specialist services to 1.8 million people across the wider Lancashire and South Cumbria patch. The Royal Preston is that sub-region’s major trauma centre.
LTH chief executive Kevin McGee – who announced his pending retirement from that post earlier this month – said of Peter White’s appointment: “He has an excellent track record of improving performance within the NHS and the synergy with his current role at NWAS will be a huge benefit to the trust.
“His appointment was unanimous and the board are looking forward to working with him.
“I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the significant contribution of Professor Paul O’Neill, who has fulfilled the role of interim chair since Professor Ebrahim Adia left the trust in September 2022. I am delighted that, once Peter is in post, Paul will be taking up his previous role as a non-executive director and vice chair,” Mr McGee added.
Professor Adia left LTH to become a non-executive member of the new NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board.
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