NEAS Chief Executive annouces retirement
One of most successful ambulance leaders in England steps down
One of the longest-serving and most successful ambulance leaders
in the country is retiring after almost 15 years.
North East Ambulance Service Chief Executive Simon Featherstone
announced to the Board of Directors and Council of Governors he is
stepping down at a public meeting.
He said: "It will be a big wrench to leave the NEAS, but the
time is right for me as I turned 60 last year. My time here has
been highly stimulating and personally fulfilling, which has been
made possible because of the close support of successive chairmen,
non-executive directors and a wonderful team of colleagues, right
across the trust, who have placed the interests of our patients as
their highest priority."
Under his leadership, the ambulance service expanded through two
mergers - firstly between Northumbria Ambulance and County Durham
Ambulance services; and more recently with Teesside - creating an
additional 1,000 jobs and leading on innovations in urgent and
emergency care that have been copied and rolled out across the rest
of the country.
NEAS Chairman Ash Winter said: "I would like to my thanks and
that of the Board for Simon's 15 years of excellent service to
NEAS. He has inspired the ambulance locally to truly innovative
reform that has immeasurably improved patient care and to led the
ambulance sector nationally to be a recognised and influential
partner in the reform of urgent and emergency care.
"We will be wishing him every happiness in retirement in the
months ahead and we will now begin the search for a new Chief
Executive. The Foundation Trust process is that the Non-Executive
Directors, with the approval of the Council of Governors, appoint
the Chief Executive. We will be using external professionals to
assist us in the process."
Simon joined the ambulance service as chief executive in October
1999 following a career in chartered accountancy, where he worked
for an insurance company in Bermuda, an aviation company in Luton,
building societies in Bristol and Sunderland, before going to work
for the NHS in Scotland as Director of Finance and then joining
City Health (Community & Mental Health) Trust in Newcastle in
His interest in "whole-systems approaches" to the reform of
urgent and emergency care ensured the ambulance service played a
full part in the delivery of improvements in patient care - locally
and nationally. This led to the first pilot in more than two
decades of a new telephone assessment system for a UK ambulance
Known as NHS Pathways, the new telephone triage tested in 2006
in the North East offered a UK evidence-based, consistent,
cost-effective approach to patient assessment over the telephone,
which was later developed as a single point of access for wider
urgent care assessment across County Durham and Darlington.
It became the foundation of the NHS111 number that was first
launched by the Secretary of State for Health in 2010.
Dr Anthony Marsh QAM, Chairman of the Association of Ambulance
Chief Executives, added: "Simon has been deeply committed to
increasing the professionalism of the workforce but also working
hard to develop excellent links between the ambulance service and
other parts of the NHS which are bringing real benefits to patients
"Simon and his Trust have been leaders in the development of
many new innovations and advances over the years. For
example, he is a strong supporter of 111 which is doing so well in
the North East. Equally, he was at the forefront of the move
to allow ambulance services to become Foundation Trusts which has
allowed local communities to get far more involved in the
organisation and the way that it develops.
"I can speak for all of his colleagues around the country when I
say that we are really sorry to see him retire. He can leave
his role knowing that he has made a huge impact on ambulance
services in the North East and across England. We wish him
every happiness in his retirement."