City Hospital chief exec resigns after months off sick to ‘pursue career opportunities elsewhere’

Former hospitals trust chief executive Nik Patten.Picture: Paul Franks/Peterborough ET
Former hospitals trust chief executive Nik Patten.Picture: Paul Franks/Peterborough ET
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Nik Patten, boss of Peterborough’s super-hospital has quit after five months on sick leave.

Nik Patten, chief executive of Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the £289 million Peterborough City Hospital, resigned yesterday in order to follow new career interests.

Trust officials confirmed Mr Patten’s resignation from his £160,000 a year job.

They also stated that at the time of his resignation, Mr Patten was still on sick leave and was receiving statutory sick pay.

Work is about to start to recruit a replacement and until a decision is made, Louise Barnett will continue as the trust’s interim chief executive.

Mr Patten’s resignation comes as a blow at a time when the trust is at crisis point, as it expects to be at least £20 million in the red by March 2012.

The trust is also struggling with the costly Private Finance Initiative (PFI) repayments for the new hospital, in Bretton.

Mr Patten has been on long-term sick leave since May 24.

The ET reported last week that the trust has been lambasted by health regulator Monitor for failing to prepare for the financial crisis it was facing.

The regulator has threatened to intervene at board level should the trust’s cash problems not be reversed.

A statement issued by the trust thanked Mr Patten for his contribution, saying: “Nik Patten has left the trust to pursue career opportunities elsewhere.

“Nik joined the trust in 2007 and has been instrumental in negotiating the opening of the new hospital and state-of-the art facilities offering regional services to a population of approximately 350,000.

“Nik also took the lead in the delivery of a very challenging Cost Improvement Programme. The trust recognises the contribution that Nik has made during his time with the organisation and wishes him every success in his new career.”

Mr Patten becomes the second high-profile resignation from a city health body in as many days, after NHS Peterborough chairman Derek Harris announced on Thursday he would step down at the end of November in protest at plans to merge boards with NHS Cambridgeshire.

Mr Patten oversaw the highly construction and move to Peterborough City Hospital, which opened last November and saw the trust relocate 3,000 staff from Peterborough District Hospital and the Edith Cavell site.

Mr Patten joined the hospitals trust in February 2007, taking over from Chris Banks who left two months earlier.

He arrived at the trust at the age of 51 with more than 20 years experience in the NHS, with his previous position being a three-and-a-half year stint as chief executive of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, the biggest teaching hospital in Europe at the time. Stewart Jackson, MP for Peterborough, said Mr Patten’s departure was on the cards due to his long-term ill health.

He added: “I’m disappointed because he was a first class chief executive who took over at a difficult time and has steered the trust through some turbulent months.

“I hope the interim chief executive can bring some long-term stability to the trust as Monitor’s intervention would not be good for morale or clinical care.”

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Patten timeline

February 2007: Nik Patten joins trust as chief executive.

May 2007: He issues apology for a backlog of operations which affected 640 patients.

May 2008: Trust shows reduction in number of hospital superbug cases.

July 2009: Mr Patten attends topping out ceremony for new city super hospital.

October 2010: He accepts keys for new super hospital.

November 2010: New super hospital opens.

March 2011: Turnaround director appointed as £38 million financial deficit is projected.

May 2011: Mr Patten is taken ill and goes on sick leave.

October 2011: Financial projections used for the move into new hospital found to be based on 2005/06 figures.

Monitor criticises trust for failing to act quickly enough on financial crisis.

October 21, 2011: Mr Patten’s departure from trust is announced.