Mike Bell the new chair for Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Trust begins working today following the departure of Joe Fielder at the end of his three-year term.
Mike has extensive NHS experience, and he has already spent time with some of the staff at Queen’s and King George Hospitals. He is keen to meet, either virtually or in person, as many people as possible in the months ahead.
Mike said: “During my visits to the Emergency Departments at our two hospitals last month I was impressed by the dedication of my new colleagues and I was struck by the pressures they are facing with the second wave of Covid-19 and the onset of winter. As Chair I will want to be assured that the wellbeing of our staff continues to be a priority and that the ongoing work to improve our culture delivers an organisation that makes it attractive to people to work here.
“The Trust has much to be proud of. In my early meetings I have been really impressed with the improvements in clinical leadership and the engagement in service planning and delivery that have been achieved over the past year. We are also leading the way in the support we provide our new nursing recruits from home and abroad.
“However, the reliable delivery of the four-hour emergency access standard has been a challenge for many years. Working with the Board, one of my early priorities will be to first stabilise and then improve our performance. We also need to continue the work we’re doing to reduce our deficit.”
Mike is also Chair of Croydon Health Services NHS Trust. During seven years there, he has helped lead it out of financial special measures and has championed integration in Croydon that has led to new alliances with the local authority, commissioners, GPs, mental health services and the voluntary sector. These alliances have meant services are more joined-up for residents and have created fresh opportunities for employees.
At the centre of Croydon’s vision for health and care integration is a passionate commitment to tackling health inequalities. Mike said: “Like Croydon, our staff and the population we serve are amongst the most diverse in the country. This should be a major cause for celebration, but we know that far too many of our communities suffer from inadequate access to services and unequal outcomes in health. Some of our colleagues feel their capacity to thrive is compromised by inequality.
“From Day One, resetting our ambition to tackle health inequalities and championing equality, diversity and inclusion will be among the key things I will focus on.
“I am looking forward to seeing what benefits our Trust can draw from the success of Croydon’s integration journey to coordinate services to better care for people. I am keen for the two organisations I now chair to share experiences and learn from each other.
“As Chair, I want us to renew our relationships with our local partners and be a leading player in developing place-based health and care partnerships in Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge. I also want to ensure we work more closely with other NHS organisations across north east London to build more effective and efficient services and better opportunities for staff development”.
Marie Gabriel, Chair of the North East London Integrated Care System, said: “I welcome Mike’s acute and system working expertise, along with his understanding of the importance of clinical leadership and innovation around place-based working. His knowledge and experience will support our joint ambitions in north east London.
“Over the last nine challenging months we have seen what we can achieve together. I have no doubt that under his leadership, BHRUT will continue on its path of integrating and improving services, creating great patient experiences, and helping to reduce inequalities.”
Mike has more than 20 years of NHS board-level experience and has held many senior roles including Chair of the London Mental Health & Employment Partnership and Vice Chair of NHS London. He is also director of the consultancy firm, MBARC Ltd, which works with central and local government and various NHS bodies on issues relating to both social exclusion and quality assurance.