Former nurse appointed chief executive of special measures trust

Kate Shields has been appointed as permanent chief executive of the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust (RCHT), after performing the role on an interim basis since July last year.

“I am delighted to be confirmed in post”

Kate Shields

She joined the trust as deputy chief executive in the wake of it being rated “inadequate” by the Care Quality Commission in October 2017 and being placed under the special measures regime.

RCHT’s overall rating was raised to “requires improvement” by the CQC in December 2018. However, the trust’s leadership was still deemed to be “inadequate” and it was kept in special measures.

In its latest report, the watchdog noted that the trust had seen “significant and ongoing periods of instability at board level over the last few years”.

It highlighted that since its first comprehensive inspection in January 2014 there had been three chief executives in post, two of those on an interim basis.

Kathy Byrne was appointed as permanent chief executive in April 2016 but stood down in July 2018. Ms Shields subsequently stepped into the position.

“We all aspire to providing the best acute and community care we can achieve”

Mairi Mclean

Ms Shields said: “I am delighted to be confirmed in post and look forward to continuing to support all who work at RCHT to provide the brilliant health service and care the people of Cornwall deserve.”

Starting out her career in nursing, Ms Shields went on to hold several significant leadership roles including director of strategy, partnerships and reconfiguration at University Hospitals Leicester; regional director of specialised commissioning for NHS England; and the national head of specialised commissioning.

An RCHT spokeswoman said Ms Shields was selected from a “strong field on candidates” following an interview process, which included presentations to senior clinicians, external stakeholders and independent interview panel members.

Trust chair Mairi Mclean said board members were “delighted” to announced Ms Shields’ appointment.

“The experience Kate has already gained from her time at RCHT, and the positive working relationships that have been established across the health and care system in Cornwall, provides much needed continuity and the opportunity to build on the progress that has been made with the trust improving its CQC rating,” she said.

“We all aspire to providing the best acute and community care we can achieve; and to demonstrating our values by the way we treat everyone,” Dr Mclean added.