THE chief executive of a Wirral health trust has pledged to focus on staff engagement and develop 'strong leadership' after a Care Quality Commission report found it 'requires improvement'.

Wirral University Teaching Hospital Trust - which runs Arrowe Park and Clatterbridge Hospitals - was subject to an unannounced visit by inspectors from the health and social care watchdog earlier this year.

They praised good care given given by staff and significant improvements to end-of-life care and maternity services and also noted where improvements needed to be made, including staff engagement and leadership.

The Trust's chief executive Janelle Holmes welcomed the 'open and honest' report, adding: "We have faced some big and much-publicised challenges of late around leadership which has been very difficult and disturbing for our staff.

"Despite the issues at Trust board level, the staff have held their heads up high and continued to pull out all of the stops to provide good compassionate care to our patients as the report clearly highlights.

"We know there are areas in which we fall significantly short, and as the organisations new chief executive, I would like to reassure you that these will be addressed quickly and effectively."

Commenting on the Trust's leadership, Mrs Holmes added: "We are committed to leadership development across the whole all our workforce.

"We recognise the importance of engaging with and investing in our staff to empower them to lead and improve their services.

"We have already started on our journey of improvement and it is our commitment to listen, engage, support and develop the workforce at every level in order to provide an environment in which outstanding care can be given.

"We will continue to be fully open and transparent with colleagues about the challenges we face on this journey but are confident that if we work as one team, regardless of the badge you wear, we can achieve great things.

"While our changes won't happen overnight, we believe green shoots are starting to be seen and we are fully committed to making improvements for the better."

Interim Chair, Sir David Henshaw who has been working with the Trust since March to stabilise the leadership arrangements said: “WUTH is fundamentally a good hospital and some of my early reflections are that we have previously let the staff down.

"Despite the recent uncertainties, which have impacted how the Trust is run, work is well underway to give much-needed stability to a new senior team whose task is to now progress improvements and to give confidence back into the organisations dedicated and committed workforce as well as the patients and communities they care for."

A copy of the full report is available on the news pages of