David Rogers announces decision to step down as Chair

Our Chair, David Rogers, has today announced his decision to step down as Chair of North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust.  David has recorded a personal statement to our staff, which you can watch or read below.

Having the opportunity to be on the Board and Chair at North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust for the past 10 years has been one of the greatest pleasures and privileges of my life.  It is a role that enabled me both to provide leadership and insight, but just as importantly to make a personal contribution to an organisation that has provided invaluable support to me and my family as service users.

So I wanted to make this statement directly to you – the fabulous people who work at Combined and make it the very special place that it is.  And I wanted you to be the first to hear my news. 

In recent times, I have been an executive reviewer for the Care Quality Commission on over 20 CQC inspections around the country, including large and troubled acute trusts.  The increasing demands of this work, coupled with a personal decision to move to the south of England, means that I have decided the time is right for me to pass the baton on to someone else to be your Chair.  I will be leaving the trust once a new chair is appointed, most probably by March.  The process of appointment commences this week.

Before I joined the trust, my wife was a professor of health policy at Keele University and a government advisor on healthcare.  She died while our children were still young and one of them subsequently developed anorexia.  She was in care for much of her teenage years and Combined Healthcare were a great support during that period. I am delighted to say that she is now recovered, happy and successful, which is due in no small part to the support she received from the local health and care system and its public and voluntary sector partners – and Combined in particular. 

With a degree in engineering and subsequent professional career as a chartered accountant with PWC, supporting a wide range of corporations in financial difficulty, I had always felt that I had a contribution to make to the public sector. Gradually, I became involved in the local community and was asked to gather together a strategy for the economic and social development of Stoke and Staffordshire.  From there, it was a natural choice to make to become involved with Combined Healthcare.

I joined Combined as a Non-Executive Director in 2014 and chaired the audit committee. Early in 2016,  I was appointed Chair of the trust.

At that time the Care Quality Commission rated Combined Healthcare as Requires Improvement.  Working closely with the then Chief Executive, Caroline Donovan and all the leadership and workforce, we collectively set out on a journey which at the time we initially called “Towards Outstanding” and which in due course became a journey towards being “Outstanding in ALL we do and HOW we do it”. 

And what a journey we have all been on together.

Over many years, we have been able to improve the culture of the organisation and the quality of care it provided, so that in the following years we improved the CQC rating to Good and then to Outstanding, a standard which I am proud to say we have managed to sustain since.  This culminated in Combined winning the accolade at the 2022 Heath Service Journal Awards as “the NHS Trust of the Year” – the very first time an NHS mental health trust had won this award.

But, as you will have heard myself and the Board say again and again, we are never complacent and our journey continues.   In that regard, one of the reasons why I can pass the baton on as your Chair, is because I know that the Trust is in very good hands – with a strong Executive Team and a fabulous Chief Executive who has the values and priorities of Combined Healthcare and the interests of its people running through her veins.

There will, of course, be plenty of opportunities over the coming weeks for us to say a proper farewell to each other.  But in the meantime, can I conclude with a heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you for the contribution you have made and continue to make to a quite remarkable place – both as a workplace and a part of our local community. Wherever I may go in the future, there will always remain a special and inviolable place in my heart for you all.  

Thank you