New interim Chair for King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust announced

NHS Improvement has announced the appointment of Sir Hugh Taylor as the interim Chair of King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Sir Hugh has been asked to take on this position alongside his existing role as Chair of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, in a move that will enable closer working and a deeper and long-term strategic relationship between two of the largest acute healthcare providers in the capital. 

King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust’s current Chair, Ian Smith has served as Chair on an interim basis since December 2017. Ian took over as Chair when the Trust was placed in special measures for finance in response to concerns about its growing deficit and he has done an excellent job in very challenging circumstances. He leaves the Trust in a much better position with a strong leadership team, including the recent appointment of its new Chief Executive, Dr Clive Kay.

Sir Hugh is one of the most experienced and distinguished chairs in the NHS and has a deep commitment to improving health services in South East London. 

Sir Hugh is expected to serve in both roles until 31 January 2021.

NHS Improvement will continue to work closely with both trusts to ensure the arrangement is working well.

Baroness Dido Harding, Chair of NHS Improvement, said: “I would like to offer my sincere thanks to Ian for his leadership of King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust over the last year during which he has stabilised the Trust in extremely challenging circumstances. Ian’s leadership and the work of the King’s team over the last year has made possible this next step of greater collaboration across South East London.

“I am delighted that Sir Hugh Taylor has agreed to be the interim Chair of King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, alongside continuing to chair Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

“Sir Hugh’s appointment will enable closer working and a deeper and long-term strategic relationship between both organisations as we take forward the Long Term Plan. Greater collaboration, including support from and close working with Guy’s and St Thomas’ is a good thing for both patients and providers across South East London.”

Sir Hugh Taylor, Chair of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I am very much looking forward to working with the Board and colleagues at King’s College Hospital – with which, as a local resident, I have a strong personal association. I will certainly be bringing to my role at King’s the same level of commitment as I hope I have shown to Guy’s and St Thomas’ over the past eight years.

“This is about creating a new future for King’s, building on the progress it has made under Ian and Peter’s leadership over the last 12 months. I see my role as leading a process, supported by Guy’s and St Thomas’ and other partners in the local health system, to work with colleagues at King’s to help the organisation through its current difficulties to that new future – one where it stands on its own feet as an organisation.

“But King’s cannot and should not stand alone. In the interests of our patients and our local population, Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s need to work more closely together and with our partners, combining our strengths to improve the health of our population and the care of patients through the development of local integrated partnerships across South East London – particularly in our case in Lambeth, Southwark and Bromley - and through the provision of specialist services and their associated networks across South London and beyond.

“As Chair of King’s I will therefore be working with the newly appointed Chief Executive and the Board, to stabilise and improve our financial and operational performance – with the support of Guy’s and St Thomas’ and other partners.  As Chair of both Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s I will be promoting collaborative working and decision-making between our Trusts and with system partners in South East London and beyond.

“We do not need a merger to do this. We will continue to operate as two organisations - but, increasingly, two organisations with one voice.”

Ian Smith, departing interim Chair of King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It has been a privilege to serve as the interim Chairman of King’s. It has been hugely rewarding to work alongside such a fantastic and dedicated team who always put patients first. Together I think we have made great strides in understanding the systemic issues that led King’s into deficit and identifying the changes that are needed to return it to a healthy position. I believe we now have a stronger financial and operational platform to complement King’s continuing clinical excellence. I look forward to seeing King’s continue on its improving trajectory in the years to come. Finally, I would like to thank everyone at King’s for their unstinting and wholehearted support over the past year.”

For further information please contact NHS Improvement’s press office on 020 3747 0800 or email Urgent media enquiries out-of-hours, should be directed to 07795 962933.

Notes to editors

  1. For further information about Sir Hugh Taylor, please visit:
  2. For further information about Ian Smith, please visit:
  3. Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust provides 2.5 million patient contacts in acute and specialist hospital services and community services every year. The trust has an annual turnover of almost £1.5 billion and employs around 16,200 staff. Guy’s and St Thomas’ is part of King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC), a collaboration between King’s College London, and Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts.
  4. King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is one of the UK’s largest and busiest teaching hospitals, training over 900 dentists, 750 doctors and 300 nurses every year. The Trust is recognized internationally for its work in liver disease and transplantation, neurosciences, cardiac, haemato-oncology, stroke and major trauma. With an annual turnover of £1.2 billion it provides 1.5 million patient contacts annually and employs around 13,000 staff.

About NHS Improvement

NHS Improvement is responsible for overseeing foundation trusts, NHS trusts and independent providers. We offer the active support these frontline providers need to give patients consistently safe, high quality, compassionate care within local health systems that are financially sustainable. By holding providers to account and, where necessary, intervening, we help the NHS to meet its short-term challenges and secure its future.

NHS Improvement brings together Monitor, the NHS Trust Development Authority plus groups from three other organisations: from NHS England both the Patient Safety Team and the Advancing Change Team, from NHS Interim Management and Support two Intensive Support Teams, together with the National Reporting and Learning System team. NHS Improvement is an operational name for the organisation which formally comes into being on 1 April 2016.

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