Sussex NHS boss who started as a healthcare assistant to retire after 41 years

The boss of Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust is retiring after 41 years in the health service.

Michael Wilson CBE revealed today he will retire later this year after serving 11 years as chief executive of Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (SASH).

In his time as chief executive, SASH has been transformed from an organisation with significant challenges to one of the top performing NHS trusts in the country. SASH is now rated Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission, is regularly among the top performing NHS trusts in the national staff survey, is often in the top ten trusts in the country for emergency department waiting times and has delivered a financial surplus for many years, a spokesman said.

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Michael added: “As someone who started in the NHS as a healthcare assistant and worked my way up to be a chief executive, I want to record now my debt of gratitude for what I have been able to do over a long and fulfilling career.

Michael Wilson CBE

“I hope that I have played my part in making the service better and helping and developing its wonderful staff.”

He said he is particularly proud of the achievements of the SASH team.

Michael added: “I can’t begin to do justice to all the remarkable things that the wonderful staff here do every day.

“It’s been an enormous privilege to have been able to work with so many talented and professional people here.

“I am immensely proud of them, now more than ever, and it has been my privilege to serve in our NHS team as SASH chief executive.”

Michael said he had always intended to retire at retirement age but that he had thought carefully about the announcement.

He said: “I believe that the autumn will be the right time for me to hand over to a successor who will lead the trust through the years of recovery and renewal after the pandemic.”

Michael began his career as a healthcare assistant and worked in a number of clinical roles before taking on local and national leadership positions.

Prior to joining SASH as chief executive in 2010 he was deputy chief executive at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust. Michael had also been a director at the Department of Health where he worked across a range of national projects and spent a short time in the Prime Minister’s delivery unit.

In 2016 Michael was awarded a CBE in Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours for services to the NHS.

Michael will retire in the autumn and the Trust Board will now begin the process for appointing his successor.

Richard Shaw, chair of SASH, said: “Over 11 years at SASH, Michael has given unstintingly of his prodigious talents and energies.

“His passion has always been to provide the safest and highest possible quality of care for our patients. His drive and inspirational leadership have transformed this trust into one of the very best in the country.

“We will all miss him when he retires later this year and wish him well. Our task meanwhile will be to build on his fine legacy, and I know that our wonderful staff will do that.”