‘I’m obviously very proud’ – Dr Stephen Dunn announced eighth best NHS chief executive

Dr Stephen Dunn. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

Dr Stephen Dunn. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Archant

The boss of West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT) has received national recognition for his leadership.

Dr Dunn getting stuck in alongside nurse Maritess Basco. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Dr Dunn getting stuck in alongside nurse Maritess Basco. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

Dr Stephen Dunn has made an inaugural appearance on the Health Service Journal’s top 50 NHS trust chief executives list, shooting in at eighth position.

Judging took account of the candidates’ personal example, the performance of their organisations, and their contribution to the wider health and care system.

One of the judges said of Dr Dunn: “The job has been the making of him.”

The Health Service Journal highlighted Dr Dunn’s hands-on approach – he is said to walk the hospital floor every week, and regularly works shifts in different departments including portering, housekeeping and catering, as well as with teams in the community, to get a feel for the issues at the coalface of the organisation.

Dr Dunn with trust chairwoman Shelia Childerhouse. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Dr Dunn with trust chairwoman Shelia Childerhouse. Picture: GREGG BROWN

WSFT is currently flying high in the face of mounting operational and financial challenges.

In January this year, the Care Quality Commission gave it an ‘outstanding’ rating, one of just seven general acute trusts in the country to be awarded the accolade, and more recently scored the highest marks in a national NHS staff survey for employees recommending the organisation as a place to work or receive care.

Sheila Childerhouse, chairwoman of WSFT, said: “This is deserved recognition for Stephen. He is truly committed to our trust and takes staff views very seriously.

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“He leads by example, is authentic in his leadership style, and creates an open and engaging culture across the trust; making time to get out and about, meeting staff, patients and stakeholders, to hear first-hand about issues and achievements.”

Ms Childerhouse also praised former chairman Roger Quince for his “fantastic contribution” to the trust.

Now in his fourth year at WSFT, Dr Dunn started his health career at the Department of Health, and went on to work in Strategic Health Authorities and the NHS Trust Development Authority.

He said: “I’m obviously very proud to have made this list but I’m clear I am part of a bigger team that makes up WSFT. It’s a great pleasure leading this trust; I am surrounded by fantastic staff at all levels who are a real asset to the organisation and our local community.

“I am genuinely proud of the care we provide and the difference we make to people’s lives every day. However, both myself and our staff are not complacent; there is always more we can do to improve further, and we must not forget that.”

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