The hospital boss behind the most controversial health plans in Huddersfield in a generation has announced he is leaving.
Owen Williams, chief executive of Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust (CHFT), has secured a new job in Manchester.
He will be remembered for being at the helm during the most turbulent period for the hospital since it was founded more than 50 years ago.
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There was shock and disbelief in 2016 when he revealed plans to demolish Huddersfield Royal Infirmary completely and move most care to Halifax, sparking years of protests.
The ‘Hands Off HRI’ campaign succeeded in partially stopping the plan but a £197m reconfiguration plan is still proceeding, with the majority of hospital services focused on the Calderdale site.
With plans for a new A&E for Huddersfield expected to be approved in the next few weeks, Dr Williams, who became a high flyer having been brought up on the tough Buttershaw estate in Bradford, has announced he is to take up the top job at the Northern Care Alliance.
Commenting on his departure, Dr Owen Williams OBE, said: “ It has been a huge privilege to have led Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust since 2012.
“I have so many fond memories and so many reasons to be proud of the many achievements we have made together during my time here from our pioneering work on digital healthcare through to our more recent work in tackling health inequalities across our local communities.
“I know CHFT will go to on achieve so much more in the years ahead, because I leave behind friends and colleagues who have shown astounding levels of resilience during the pandemic, always striving to deliver compassionate care to our patients under the most challenging of conditions.
“It is this fighting spirit and sense of hope, despite adversity, that I will miss the most as I journey towards the other side of the Pennines”.
Dr Williams came to CHFT having held the top job at Calderdale Council.
In the 2020 New Year’s Honours list he was awarded an OBE for service to health care across West Yorkshire and was asked to lead a national piece of work across the NHS with regards to health inequalities, chairing the National Health Inequalities Expert Advisory Group.
In 2020 he was granted the degree of Doctor of Business Administration by the University of Huddersfield.
CHFT said Ellen Armistead, currently the Executive Nurse Director / Deputy Chief Executive would take over as our Interim Chief Executive when Dr Williams departs in a couple of month.
Trust Chair, Philip Lewer said : “I want to congratulate Owen on his new role and say a big thank you from all of the Board, colleagues at CHFT and the communities we serve for your leadership whilst at CHFT.
“I am very proud of what you have achieved over the last 9 years and I know that you will be very much missed by all”.
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