Report on Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust

Today we have published an independent review we commissioned Deloitte to carry out of the effectiveness of board leadership and governance at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) in London.

We placed the trust in special measures for finance in February 2018.

Deloitte’s review has concluded that there were a number of factors that contributed to the trust’s financial situation. These included low levels of transparency in financial reporting; poor escalation of risks; silo working at an executive director level; weaknesses in board oversight; and an absence of proactive chief executive leadership.

Deloitte’s review also concluded that there are lessons for us to consider – which we have committed to take forward as part of our transformation.

The chair of BHRUT with his board’s support has now appointed interim Chief Executive, Chris Bown, to take over following the resignation of Matthew Hopkins last month.

‘While Deloitte’s review makes clear that the financial failings at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust do not fall at the feet of a single individual, the report highlights the need for new leadership within the trust.

‘I am encouraged this has begun to happen already with the arrival of Chris Bown as interim Chief Executive.

‘The trust’s board must now deal with the important task of stabilising finances, ensuring it is fully and actively engaged in making progress, and most importantly, maintaining and continuing to improve the quality of care for patients.

‘I am confident that with the right focus the trust can exit special measures for finance while continuing to make quality improvements. We will continue to work closely with the trust to support them on this.

‘The review also highlights lessons that we should learn from and we are actively progressing around our financial monitoring of providers. As we announced in May, work is underway to create a single financial regime for the NHS as well as the introduction of seven regions with NHS England that will oversee local support across the NHS.

Ian Dalton, Chief Executive, NHS Improvement

In the context of Deloitte’s review, we asked Richard Douglas, our Deputy Chair and former Director General of Finance at the Department of Health and Head of the Government Finance Profession, to examine the roles played by Jeff Buggle in his senior positions at BHRUT – first as Director of Finance and then for a short period as acting Chief Executive. Jeff became our Operational Regional Director of Finance for the London region in July 2017.

In response to this, Ian Dalton added: ‘We have found no evidence that our colleague Jeff crossed a professional line in his time at BHRUT in either the reporting of the trust’s financial performance or in his briefings to its board.

‘I am pleased that he will continue in his role with NHS Improvement. He has our full confidence and support.’