Trouble-shooting hospital boss is moving on

The trouble-shooting hospital boss who turned around the fortunes of West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust has announced he is leaving.

Jan Filochowski was brought in five years ago to deal with spiralling debts and poor services at the trust but is now moving on to top job at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

The highly-respected NHS manager says he has mixed feelings about leaving ‘but not sufficiently mixed not to take the job’.

“I would describe my time as demanding, very interesting and I think I would also say rewarding,” he said. “I do think we have seen some major improvements in services over five years.”

Mr Filochowski saw through the controversial closure of full A&E in Hemel Hempstead and the transfer of surgery to St Albans.

“I do realise there have been some tough changes in my time and particularly at Hemel,” he said. “I think now compared with most parts of the country we have a very stable position.”

The decision to centralise services in Watford rather than Hemel Hempstead was taken by Mr Filochowski’s predecessor, but he said: “We had to focus on one to provide the necessary level of services and staffing.”

Mr Filochowski said he expected a decision on whether to rebuild or refurb Hemel Hempstead Hospital ‘within six months’.

Among his other achievements was to secure funding for a new link road that paves the way for the Watford Health Campus project, with work expected to start within a year.

However, the controversial way Mr Filochowski was appointed to the job permanently in 2009, having first arrived in a temporary capacity, provoked resignation calls while his £280,000 salary was criticised as ‘immoral’.