Q&A: Nick Carver of the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust

PUBLISHED: 11:27 14 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:34 20 February 2013

Nick Carver

Nick Carver

Nick Carver, chief executive of the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, tells Louise McEvoy about major plans in the pipeline, his ultimate hope for healthcare in Hertfordshire, and how he began his career as a nurse

Where are you from originally and where do you live now?
Like many in the NHS, I have moved around the country quite a bit over the years. I have spent most of my life, however, in the West Country in places like Gloucester and Bath. I now live in Letchworth Garden City.

How long have you been chief executive of the Trust and, broadly speaking, what does your job involve?
I've been chief executive of the Trust for five-and-a-half years. It means leading the Trust and its 5,000 employees, with an emphasis on providing strategic direction.

What were you doing before you took up this position with the Trust?
Before moving here I was chief executive of an NHS Trust in Warwickshire and prior to that I held a number of senior managerial positions in the health service. It may surprise some, but I started my NHS career as a nurse in the 1980s.

What major plans are in the pipeline for Hertfordshire?
Our major plans, in essence, include the movement of much routine work that used to be done in large hospitals out to community settings, and the need to bring together acute clinical expertise in order to provide the best possible specialist care for those people who need it.

A decision has been taken to centralise acute and emergency services at Lister Hospital in Stevenage, and not the QEII Hospital in Welwyn Garden City. Do you think this was the right decision and how will the changes be staged?
Everyone, including our foremost senior clinicians, have told us we need to bring these services together on a single site, with Lister proving the better option in terms of potential to provide all local people with the best possible care within the resources available. If we fail to deliver this plan then people living in Hertfordshire will have to travel out of the county for specialist care. Indeed many people living in the county already receive some specialist treatment elsewhere, which could have been provided much closer to home if decisions around concentrating acute services had been made earlier.

What is your ultimate hope for healthcare in Hertfordshire?
My ultimate hope is to make Hertfordshire the county of choice for NHS patients and NHS employees. For too long people have tended to look elsewhere for what was perceived to be the best services available to them, especially towards London. That picture has been changing rapidly over the last few years, but my aim is to work with my colleagues in Hertfordshire to complete that transformation of local health services.

If you had a magic wand and could change one thing about the NHS in Hertfordshire, what would it be and why?
I would speed up the investment that
will take place over the next few years. Hertfordshire has been characterised for many years as having low levels of capital investment, which thankfully we have started to change in the last few years.

What do you enjoy most about your job and why?
The thing I enjoy most is meeting members of the public, the users of our services, and hearing about their experiences. I always value this contact as it keeps me in touch with what patients feel about our services.

What is your favourite town or village in Hertfordshire and why?
For me it has to be Letchworth Garden City because of the wonderful combination of town and country - the availability of services on your doorstep coupled with the ability to walk across open fields in the evening, which I know my dog enjoys hugely!

Sum up Hertfordshire in five words.
A vibrant sense of community!

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