Former Home Secretary appointed to chair two east London NHS trusts

Jacqui Smith appointed to oversee two NHS trusts

Former MP - and Home Secretary - Jacqui Smith has been appointed as the chair in common for the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) and the Barts Health NHS Trust. - Credit: BHRUT

Former MP Jacqui Smith has been appointed to a new role created as part of the growing partnership between two east London NHS trusts.

Right Honourable Ms Smith - also the first female home secretary - will become the chair in common for the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) and Barts Health NHS Trust.

The trusts have been working together throughout Covid-19 to care for critically ill patients, and they say this role is designed to strengthen an already burgeoning partnership.

This collaboration has been the subject of examination with staff and stakeholders in recent months.

Both trusts say they hope to draw on the former Redditch MP's eight-year experience as chair of the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.

Dame Alwen Williams, group chief executive of Barts Health, said: “Jacqui’s appointment means we can increase the pace of our collaborative working and deliver further improvements that will benefit our patients, staff and communities."

The incoming substantive chief executive for BHRUT, Matthew Trainer, added: “With the help of Jacqui’s extensive experience, we are embarking on the next important stage in the history of our two organisations. 

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“At BHRUT we want to share our learnings in the areas where we excel and also learn from Barts Health in a way that can only benefit our patients.”

Ms Smith has described the appointment as "an honour, a privilege and a responsibility".

“I’m excited about getting to know BHRUT and Barts and helping them to build on their strengths and identify ways they can work more effectively together.

"I’m looking forward to joining the diverse and vibrant communities of north east London and getting out to listen and to learn how the two trusts can play their full part as NHS partners", she said.

The former MP - who will take up post on October 1 - said the aim is to "bring people with us" in the effort to deliver "tangible benefits" to staff and residents alike. 

The two trusts will remain separate bodies with their own boards.