Life on Assignment – an NHS related charity

I was delighted to be approached to meet the Chairman of Leeds Cares to discuss a potential opportunity as Interim Managing Director (MD).  Leeds Cares is the official charity partner of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT) and one of the larger hospital charities.

Whilst I have been involved with charities in the past, this was my first opportunity to work directly for an NHS related charity and one that was particularly close to my heart as both of our girls were born at the Leeds General Infirmary and we have been “in and out”, like most families, ever since.

The role itself was largely to return the organisation, that had gone through a period of rapid change and whose Chief Executive had recently left to take up another role, to a stable position and to provide assurance to the Board of Trustees of sound underpinning governance and internal controls.

Daily contact with the Trust’s Chair, executive team and with patient facing staff was a key part of the role.  Meeting patients and families of patients, both past and present was also a highlight.  I started the assignment in Mid-July 2019 and we celebrated our wedding anniversary that weekend by joining in the Leeds Cares Canal Walk - taking the easy way out by just walking the 4 mile family route rather than the 26 mile “slog”!

Leeds Cares were also the official charity partner of the UCI Road Cycling World Championships and this was a key area of focus for the charity and the Trust in the run up to the event last September.  The highlight of that event was the “Sportive” where over 300 (of 3500) public riders rode for Leeds Cares and raised an impressive £125,000!  Unfortunately the weather wasn’t kind to Yorkshire that week and the event was a trial for everyone concerned, lifted by the visits of HRH the Countess of Wessex who met patients from Leeds Children’s Hospital (where HRH is a patron), and by the British Champion cyclist Lizzie Deignan.

This week-long event, was one of many that I was privileged to attend in my role as MD of Leeds Cares.  These ranged from carol concerts, meeting volunteers and fundraisers to standing on street corners collecting and raising awareness!  I met Chris, the husband of the late Dr Kate Granger who was responsible for the “Hello my name is” campaign which so many of us now pledge to and wear the badges with pride.  Leeds Cares supports the campaign and this is one of many initiatives funded by the charity in support of LTHT.  Leeds Cares also supports the Trust’s “Time to Shine Awards” and it was great to see such recognition of outstanding individuals from colleagues.

On the “business side” we introduced a number of internal controls, strengthened governance and refocused the team on the core objective as the Official Charity partner of LTHT with the aim to support staff to deliver the best patient care.  I met all new starters at LTHT as part of the Corporate Induction and our slot at 9:00 am on Monday was perhaps the best start to the week I have had in any role!

This was an assignment that gave me a lot of personal satisfaction and a lasting commitment to supporting Leeds Cares (unfortunately the lockdown has limited outdoor events!).  The relationship between LTHT and charity dates back over 25 years and to be a small part of this was extremely rewarding.

In closing I would like to thank and recognise the staff and Boards of both Leeds Cares and LTHT, for their support during the assignment and also for the work they do day in day out and in particular in the recent difficult times.

Andrew undertook two further NHS IMAS COVID-19 related assignments; firstly supporting the National Incident Coordination Centre for NHSE/I and then London Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

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