East of England Ambulance Service appoints new chairman

Dr Geoff Harris, new interim chair of the EEAST.

Dr Geoff Harris, new interim chair of the EEAST. - Credit: Archant

THE region’s under-fire ambulance service has announced a new interim chairman.

Dr Geoff Harris has been appointed as chair of the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust for 12 months after Maria Ball resigned at the end of March.

The appointment was made by the NHS Trust Development Authority (TDA).

Sir Peter Carr, chair of the TDA said: “Geoff has substantial international and public sector experience, and a successful track record of managing complex NHS and international organisations.

“We identified him as an excellent candidate to provide specialist leadership support to the EEAST as an interim chair over the next 12 months.”

Dr Harris has worked on NHS boards as chair of NHS South of England Strategic Health Authority.

He served as both chair and deputy chair of the General Optical Council from 2004 to 2010 and was also non-executive director and then chair of Buckinghamshire Mental Health NHS Trust from 2003 to 2006 and non-executive director of Stoke Mandeville Hospital NHS Trust from 1999 to 2003.

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The ambulance service, which has been criticised for poor response times, said Dr Harris would work closely with the trust’s chief executive Andrew Morgan and current acting chair Paul Remington to deliver the service’s turnaround plan.

His first job will be to consider the findings of a governance review into the EEAST which is expected to be published shortly.

Dr Harris said: “This is a great opportunity to assist the recovery of the East of England Ambulance Service.

“Challenges in improving performance, response times, recruiting and empowering staff have been clearly identified, among many others in the turnaround plan.

“I look forward to working with the trust board and engaging with staff and stakeholders to deliver the improvements needed.”

Dr Harris has been appointed from May 28 2013 until May 27 2014.

He will be paid £21,105 a year.