West Sussex Gazette
‘Outstanding’ hospitals chief announces retirement plans
Long-serving NHS leader began as a trainee nurse in the 1980s
A former trainee nurse who rose up the ranks to become chief executive of a West Sussex hospitals trust has announced plans to retire.
Marianne Griffiths, who led the trust which operated Worthing, Southlands and St Richard’s hospitals to an Outstanding Care Quality Commission rating in 2016, will stand down next year.
Dame Marianne is currently head of University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust (UHSussex), which includes the three hospitals as well as the Princess Royal in Haywards HeathandothersinEastSussex.
She has served as chief executive of the trust and its predecessor organisations for 14 years – but has now decided to call time on a career which started as a trainee nurse in the 1980s.
Dame Marianne said: “I can’t emphasise enough how incredibly proud I am of all our colleagues who make our hospitals the outstanding places they are.
“We have created a strong new trust through our merger and the recruitment of new leaders to join an already excellent team of experienced and talented people.
“We are now setting course for the future with a new clinical operating model and strategy, and a clear vision of the further ongoing improvements we want to make for our patients as part of the new integrated care system for Sussex.
“Seeing that through is a long-term job. I want to make sure UHSussex has someone at the helm who will steer it from start to finish rather than carry on and step aside halfway through.
“I will stay on until next June to give the board time to appoint the right person and to allow me to help them in whatever way I can.
“I am hugely proud of the continuing improvements in quality of care we have made for our patients over the years, but it’s now time for me to hand over the reins for the next stage.”
Dame Marianne oversaw the creation of University Hospitals Sussex in April this year through the merger of Western Sussex Hospitals (WSHT) and Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals trusts.
She was chief executive of the former since its establishment in 2009 and of the latter since 2017, when the two trusts entered into a joint management contract.
She was also Royal West Sussex chief executive up to its merger with Worthing and Southlands hospitals, leading to the creation of WSHT.
During her years in charge, WSHT earned Foundation Trust status in 2013. Three years later it became the first multisite hospital trust in the country to receive an Outstanding rating by the CQC.
WSHT exceeded that achievement in 2019 when it became the first non-specialist acute trust to be judged Outstanding right across the board.
Dame Marianne became the first woman to lead the HSJ’s Top 50 chief executives list, a position she earned in 2018 and 2019.
She was also made a Dame Commander of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2019 New Year’s Honours List for services to the NHS.
UHSussex chairman Alan McCarthy said: “Marianne would say that the success of our hospitals has been built on teamwork and the fantastic commitment and support of colleagues throughout the trust, but outstanding organisations have outstanding leaders and she is definitely one of them.”
Adam Doyle, chief executive of the Sussex NHS Commissioners, said: “She has been an outstanding and inspirational leader who has always been committed to patients and staff and has contributed so much to not only the hospitals she has led but also the development of our integrated care system.”
The process for recruiting a replacement chief executive will begin immediately.