Colchester: Chief executive of under-fire hospital trust, Dr Gordon Coutts, leaves post

Dr Gordon Coutts Dr Gordon Coutts

Wednesday, December 18, 2013
5:53 PM

The chief executive of a hospital trust being investigated by police has announced he is leaving his post.

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Dr Gordon Coutts said he will not be returning to Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust after his current period of sick leave.

A spokesman for the trust said Dr Coutts was leaving by “mutual consent”.

Essex Police confirmed last month it had launched an investigation into the alleged manipulation of cancer waiting lists at the trust while health watchdog, Monitor, is also carrying out an investigation into governance arrangements within the trust.

In a statement, Dr Coutts said: “I realise that this is an extremely difficult time for the trust as it seeks to understand where it has failed patients in the past and seeks to rebuild the confidence of patients, the public and stakeholders in the many excellent services it offers.

“Underpinning this will be the need to lead and support staff to deliver high quality and safe services. I regret that there have been problems in the trust’s cancer services. As chief executive I always took my responsibility for what happened in the organisation very seriously. I am sorry that some of our patients were let down and that what has happened may have damaged local people’s confidence in their hospitals.”

Dr Coutts has been chief executive since September 6 2010. Prior to this he had been a non-executive director since April 2010.

He added: “I am extremely proud to leave behind a highly competent and dedicated leadership team that I am confident will take forward the improvements currently underway in the Trust.

“I should also like to take this opportunity to thank all of the many excellent staff who work so hard for patients and who I know will ensure that any lessons learned from the recent events will reinforce the Trust’s commitment to deliver the very best and consistent patient experience.”

The deputy chief executive, Sue Barnett, will take charge for the time being while transition arrangements are confirmed and an interim CEO is identified. The trust said it will be advertising for a new CEO early in the New Year.

The trust also confirmed that Dr Coutts will continue to be available to provide information as and when required to the ongoing Monitor investigation.