Posted: May 30 2019
The chair of Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust (HCT) has announced his retirement after almost ten years at the helm of organisation he helped to found. Declan O’Farrell completes his full term and will step down on 30 September.
Declan started in his role in February 2010 and was instrumental in the process to create HCT when community services were being divested from the former Hertfordshire Primary Care Trust. Declan has served continually as Chair since HCT was officially founded on 1 November 2010.
Reflecting on his time at HCT, Declan said “I have been privileged to serve as Chair of HCT for nearly a decade. There is so much for me to reflect on and overall I look back with a great sense of pride. We created a strong and stable organisation within 18 months of starting the process - an organisation which has gone on to become a key part of the health and social care system in Hertfordshire, delivering high quality services for patients, their families and carers which support people to live their lives to the full, whatever their health needs. Over this time, we have continued to increase the profile and the effectiveness of community healthcare services, which are very much the ‘glue’ that connects and supports the whole health and social care system in Hertfordshire.
“It has always been my firm belief that we needed to focus on involving everyone at all levels, along with our patients and service users, to relentlessly keep on improving and innovating. Very often it is the small things that make the biggest difference to people, so enabling our staff to offer care and support that’s really tailored to someone’s individual needs is something I am particularly proud of.
Declan continued: “Throughout my time at HCT, I have never ceased to be impressed by the skills, knowledge and dedication of our staff. Their commitment to continuous improvement and development means that we have maintained a constant focus on improving outcomes for our patients and service users by ensuring that our services remain effective and of a high quality. This approach has also enabled us to build strong and lasting partnerships with our colleagues in local authorities and the voluntary sector. These relationships have never been more important, and we are now working ever more closely with our colleagues in primary care to really integrate our services with the work of GPs and other local services. I know that we have already laid the ground to make this an exciting reality.
Clare Hawkins, Chief Executive of HCT, said: “I want to thank Declan on behalf of the Trust Board and all our colleagues for the unwavering support, dedication and energy he has put into HCT over his time as our Chair, from setting up the organisation in 2010, to our achievements as a highly performing organisation with a Care Quality Commission rating of Good. On a personal level I will miss him a great deal, and I know that everyone at HCT wishes him well for the future.”
The process to appoint a new Chair for HCT is now under way, overseen by NHS Improvement, the NHS body which conducts non-executive appointments for NHS trusts. We expect to appoint a new Chair by September to allow for a smooth handover process.
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