Gorleston : James Paget Chairman Resigns

2 November 2011, 14:54 | Updated: 2 November 2011, 15:26

John Hemming has announced his resignation as Chairman for the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston today.

It comes after criticism from some MP's over areas of its patient care.

The hospital had failed to meet standards in things like patient nutrition and dignity, however they say they have already made big changes since the inspections and will continue to keep a high level of care.

John Hemming announced to hospital staff and governors his decision to resign with immediate effect from today and thanked all the staff for their support and hard work.

70-year-old John Hemming was appointed Chairman of the James Paget in November 2003 and under his chairmanship the Trust became the first hospital in Norfolk and Suffolk to achieve NHS Foundation Trust status in 2006.

Mr Hemming said: “I am proud to have been a very small part of what the James Paget has achieved over the past eight years.  Patient safety and patient care has always been at the centre of our agenda and we have seen advances in medicine and surgery that have improved outcomes and life expectations.  

We have a workforce that is dedicated and professional, that strives to do the best for patients.  We became the first NHS Foundation Trust in Norfolk and Suffolk and have a very supportive Governors Council, representing our Members’ interests.  As a founder member of the UEA Medical School we provide around a third of medical training, helping staff and patients.

I am standing down as Chairman as I am seen politically as a hindrance to improving patient care for the vulnerable and elderly, which is unacceptable to me.  I hope that my successor will be able to accelerate the improvements we are making to ensure the Trust achieves all the required outcomes for CQC inspection.

The adverse publicity is affecting the Trust, causing patients and the local population to have unnecessary concerns about the quality of care in the Paget. The Trust has an excellent low mortality rate, in the top 14 trusts in England, registers highly in inpatient surveys and on our local real time patient feedback tools and receives many letters from visitors praising the level of care and comparing it favourably to their local hospital. It has been a privilege and an honour to serve the Trust.”

Retired consultant surgeon and Lead Governor Hugh Sturzaker paid tribute to Mr Hemming’s chairmanship.

Mr Sturzaker said: “John has informed the Governors that he felt he had no option but to resign in the best interests of the hospital, patients and staff. As elected representatives of the local community the Governors voiced their unanimous support for John and did ask him to consider staying.”

“We do, however, understand his decision and we would like to pay tribute to his tireless championing of the interests of the hospital, our patients and staff. Recent events have been difficult for everyone but the James Paget is a first class hospital with highly dedicated and hardworking staff.”

Wendy Slaney, Chief Executive, said: “I am very sad indeed that John Hemming has taken the decision to relinquish his post. We are losing a fine Chairman and a great champion for our patients and staff.

John’s commitment and contribution has been of the highest order. Under his Chairmanship we became the first hospital in Norfolk to be granted NHS foundation trust status.

His leadership and influence has greatly supported the achievements of the healthcare system across Great Yarmouth and Waveney. John leaves the Trust having ensured a strong foundation for the future of healthcare in our community.

The Governors of the James Paget University Hospitals will decide on the appointment of an interim Chairman later this week.