Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

NHS Chief's Uncertain Future; MYSTERY OF HOSPITALS BOSS'S 'EXTENDED LEAVE'

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

NHS Chief's Uncertain Future; MYSTERY OF HOSPITALS BOSS'S 'EXTENDED LEAVE'

Article excerpt

Byline: DAN O'DONOGHUE Local Government Reporter dan.odonoghue@trinitymirror.com @DanChronicle

MYSTERY today surrounds the future of one of the NHS's longest serving hospital bosses.

Sir Leonard Fenwick has been at the helm of The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for 40 years - making him the longest serving NHS chief executive in the country. During his high-profile career, Sir Leonard has overseen changes which have made Newcastle's hospitals some of the most pioneering in Europe.

But, on Wednesday, it was revealed by the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust board that he was now on "extended leave".

The reasons behind the sudden absence of Sir Leonard remain unclear, and it is not known how long the 69-year-old will be on "leave".

A statement released to the Chronicle by the trust reads: "The chairman and non-executive directors of The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have today confirmed that the trust chief executive, Sir Leonard Fenwick, is taking a period of extended leave.

"During his absence, Louise Robson, business and development director, and Andrew Welch, medical director, are covering Sir Leonard's responsibilities."

Sir Leonard, who has been at the forefront of the NHS in the region for four decades, told the Chronicle that he would not be commenting on the matter at this time. Born and bred in West Jesmond, Newcastle, his aspirations growing up veered towards a job in geological sciences.

However, an opportunity to join the NHS as a management trainee at the age of 18 would be the start of a long and illustrious career.

His first post was at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in 1965, followed by an administrative officer's role at the new Hull Royal Infirmary at just 20 years old.

Sir Leonard returned to Newcastle in the 1970s and was involved in the planning and design of the dental hospital and school.

He then became commissioning manager for the former Freeman Road hospital, before being made chief executive of the newly founded Freeman Group of Hospitals NHS Trust in 1977.

A major merger of the three teaching hospitals in Newcastle led to the establishment of the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust. …

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