A NEW hospitals boss has paid tribute to staff after taking over as chairman.

Starting this month, Steve Erskine has taken up the role at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT), which runs the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester, as well as the Andover War Memorial Hospital and Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital.

It follows the departure of Elizabeth Padmore, who stepped down after nine-year term in December.

Mr Erskine said: “I am looking forward to working alongside our chief executive, Alex Whitfield, the board of directors and the council of governors.

“Before I joined the trust, I took the opportunity to meet as many members of staff and patients as I could. I heard from some very enthusiastic staff who want to provide the best care for our patients, whatever their role. I also heard patients and their families say how much they rated the care here. What I heard sounded like a good organisation that has a strong and positive future.

“I also believe that this future is very closely linked to successful collaborations, both with other NHS organisations and external partners. It is my view that if we all share the same goal – the best possible patient care – then we can make things even better for patients by working closely together.”

Before taking over at HHFT, Mr Erskine has been an NHS non-executive director since 2011, serving as vice-chair at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust and chairman of Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, sitting on the Dorset Integrated Care System partnership board.

His business career began at Ordnance Survey, where he worked his way up the organisation to board level. He also served as a director for a Home Office agency and L3 Communications, a large US technology company.

Alex Whitfield, HHFT chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals, added: “On behalf of everyone at the trust, I’d like to offer Steve a very warm welcome. I’m looking forward to working with him and drawing on the experience he brings, both from other trusts and the world of business.”