Quality Care, Everyone, Every Time
Isle of Wight NHS Trust to recruit new Chief Executive
31 March 2017

Trust Chair thanks Karen Baker for her hard work and commitment

Karen Baker, Chief Executive of the Isle of Wight NHS Trust, is to stand down from her role today, 31 March 2017.  The Trust board have asked Executive Medical Director Dr Mark Pugh to step in as acting Chief Executive for a short period.   The Trust Board expect to confirm in April the appointment of an interim Chief Executive. He or she will be with the Trust for up to six months whilst the Trust board undertake the recruitment of a new permanent Chief Executive.

Karen Baker said: “I have been the Chief Executive of this NHS Trust for almost five years and I am proud of the progress we have made in many areas during that period.  The My Life a Full Life new care model offers an integrated approach to delivering health and care that will be of real value not just on the Isle of Wight but in many other parts of the country too.

“It is true, however, that the NHS on the Isle of Wight - like the NHS elsewhere – faces many big challenges and it is clear to me that we have not always provided the quality of care the public expects.  I am very sorry about that and as Chief Executive I take my full share of the responsibility.  I now feel that after almost five years the Trust needs a fresh pair of eyes to take it on the next stage of its development journey.

“It is a matter of public record that within weeks the Care Quality Commission will be publishing a report on the health services delivered by the Isle of Wight NHS Trust.  It would be wrong to say more about this report before publication but I know it will contain some important messages about how we can improve healthcare on the island.  I do not want questions about my own position to detract from these important messages around the time of publication.  I have therefore decided to stand down as Chief Executive with immediate effect.

“I love the Isle of Wight and its people and I have nothing but admiration for the care and commitment of those who work and volunteer for the NHS on the Island.  I believe the NHS is on a journey of continuous improvement and that you can and will develop a top class health and care service on the Isle of Wight.”

Karen Baker is a former nurse and midwife.  She spent 18 years in clinical practice before moving into healthcare management. 

Eve Richardson, the Chair of the Isle of Wight NHS Trust Board said: “I would like to thank Karen for her hard work and commitment over the past five years.  It has been a challenging period for the NHS nationally and there have been additional challenges that are unique to the Isle of Wight.  It is a tribute to Karen that she was the first to recognise the need for a fresh start.  Karen will not be receiving any kind of severance payment.   The Trust Board’s priority now is to work with our new Improvement Director, Philippa Slinger and when appointed the interim Chief Executive, to develop the necessary improvement plans arising from the upcoming Care Quality Commission report.”

Notes for Editors

1. Karen Baker joined the NHS in 1979 as a Student Nurse training at Guy’s Hospital in London.   After working on the wards as a nurse, Karen qualified as a midwife in 1985 and then spent 18 years in clinical practice, delivering her last baby, Oscar, in 2003. In 1995 Karen started her management career working in Basingstoke, and prior to moving to the Island, Karen undertook a number of roles at Southampton University Hospitals Foundation NHS Trust, responsible for a range of services including Maternity, Gynaecology, Children’s, Emergency, Acute Medicine, Older People and Cancer Services.   She joined Isle of Wight NHS Trust as Chief Operating Officer in April 2010 and was appointed Chief Executive in July 2012.

2.  Services on the Island were first brought together in October 2006 under the umbrella of the Isle of Wight NHS Primary Pare Trust (PCT).     2012/13 was the first year of operation for the new Isle of Wight NHS Trust when the provision and commissioning of services were separated.   The Trust is an integrated service provider of acute hospital, mental health, learning disability, ambulance and community services . In 2016-17 revenue was £160m, for services delivered by a workforce of almost 2,700 (full time equivalent).   The Trust serves an offshore population of 142,000 and faces some unique challenges.

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