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East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust has hired Chris Bown, who turned around Mid Staffs hospital, to help it out of special measures


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A beleaguered Kent hospital trust has appointed the man who helped turn around scandal-hit Mid-Staffs Hospital, to drag it out of special measures.

Chris Bown will replace retiring East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust's chief exec Stuart Bain in March.

He will remain in his post until 2016, when the health trust says it will find a permanent replacement.

Chris Bown will start as the East Kent hospitals trust chief executive in March
Chris Bown will start as the East Kent hospitals trust chief executive in March

In September the Care Quality Commission (CQC) placed the East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust into special measures after identifying staff shortages, a culture of bullying and grave concerns about patient safety.

Mr Bown comes to the trust with experience of dealing with health trusts in crisis.

In the past year, he has been managing director of the County Hospital, Stafford – formerly the Mid-Staffs Hospital where up to 1,200 patients needlessly died as a result of poor care over the 50 months between January 2005 and March 2009.

Nicholas Wells, chairman of the east Kent trust, welcomed Mr Bown’s year-long appointment.

He said: “I believe Chris will provide the high quality leadership that EKHUFT requires for its next phase of development and I am greatly looking forward to him joining us.

“Chris has been appointed for a period of one year. This will give our trust the stability of leadership which will be important as we strive to make substantial progress with our CQC action plan, resolve the operational challenges we face and, over the summer, take our strategic plans into public consultation.

“In this way, EKHUFT should be able to make significant progress and hopefully come out of special measures which will greatly assist the process of recruiting a substantive chief executive, which we will resume in 2016.”

The Kent and Canterbury Hospital
The Kent and Canterbury Hospital

The trust describes Mr Bown as “a long standing chief executive with a wealth of experience in steering NHS organisations through challenging periods of change”.

He led Poole Hospital Foundation Trust and before that West Suffolk Trust for a total of 10 years. Before, he worked in operations and corporate development at Birmingham

Children’s hospital. He started his NHS career in London working at both Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals.

Mr Bown will formally start his job on March 23.

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