James Brent to remain Chairman of the RD&E and NDHT for a further year

17 Apr 2020

In recognition of the extraordinary circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, following agreement with NHS England (NHSE) and NHS Improvement (NHSI), James Brent has agreed to continue as Chairman of both the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust (RD&E) and Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust (NDHT) until June 2021.

The Council of Governors at the RD&E, which oversees appointments to the Board, together with NHSE, who oversee Board level appointments to non-Foundation NHS Trusts such as NDHT, agreed that the recruitment process underway to replace Mr Brent by June 2020 (the end of his already extended term) should be postponed.

The decision was taken to ensure stability and continuity at a time when the NHS as a whole is handling the significant challenges posed by the Coronavirus pandemic. It is expected that the recruitment campaign will recommence towards the end of the year or sooner depending on the trajectory of the pandemic.

Peta Foxall, lead governor at the RD&E and who chaired the Nominations Committee, said, “I am delighted that James has agreed to stay on to chair both Trusts during this time and, on behalf of the Council, I would like to say how much we appreciate the flexibility he has shown in accommodating our request. It is absolutely vital to ensure a high degree of stability for both Boards as the Trusts work hard in dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic. Furthermore, despite video conferencing facilities and other technology, the Nominations Committee felt that it would not be possible to conduct a thorough and fair recruitment process during this period of lockdown.”

James Brent said, “Preparing for and dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic in Devon while ensuring that we continue to look after both these and other patients with life threatening or time critical conditions in a timely, safe and high quality way is of paramount importance to the people and communities we serve. We also need to ensure that as we manage the pandemic we are as well placed as possible to recover any delays for our patients. It has been a privilege to chair the RD&E Board and Council for the last eight years and NDHT for the last two years. I am delighted to extend my term as Chairman of both organisations to ensure we remain focused on providing high quality acute and community services to our populations without being distracted at this time. If all goes well, the Council will be in a position to kick start the recruitment campaign for my successor later this year and appoint a new Chair before June 2021.”

He added, “I would like to record my thanks and appreciation to the Council for their support and understanding at this difficult time. Most of all I would like to thank our incredible staff at both organisations for the extraordinary work they do every day to keep our populations safe.”



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