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Updated 8 November 2022

8 September 2022

Dorset HealthCare and Dorset County Hospital have agreed to appoint both a joint Chief Executive and a joint Chair to lead the two organisations.

The two Trust Boards believe that a joint leadership model will improve the delivery of care to local communities by simplifying decision-making, increasing integration and improving quality.

However, the NHS trusts will not merge, with the financial, governance and regulatory responsibilities for each organisation remaining with two separate Boards.
A recruitment process for the posts will begin shortly.

Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester is the acute general hospital primarily serving the west of the county, while Dorset HealthCare provides community and mental health services across the whole of Dorset.

Both trusts currently have acting Chief Executives, while the tenures of their Chairs – Andy Willis for Dorset HealthCare and Mark Addison for Dorset County – will come to an end next year

Shared leadership for the two trusts will enable them to develop a clear common purpose and innovative solutions for current challenges, with a focus on:

• prevention of ill health
• tackling health inequalities
• better integration between physical and mental health
• joined-up workforce planning and development.

Mark Addison said:

“This approach builds on our existing strong partnership working and on everything we have learned from our quick and effective response to the challenges presented by the pandemic.

“A shared Chief Executive and shared Chair will take a ‘helicopter view’ across our two organisations and help to address any blockers may be affecting our ability to provide the best quality care.”

Andy Willis added:

“This move is not about merging the two organisations, which would cause significant upheaval and distract us from our core drive to improve services for local people.

“A partnership strengthened by shared leadership is in line with the aspirations of the newly-created local Integrated Care System, Our Dorset. And we will, of course, continue to work proactively with all NHS, council and community partners within and beyond our own health and care system.”