A SENIOR figure at the Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust claims the provider is beginning to function well again.

Fiona Haughey spoke after her recent appointment as executive director of nursing and quality.

The trust has taken action to improve the way it is run after a critical report last year by health watchdog Monitor.

Monitor found the trust was in breach of its licence in April last year after the Care Quality Commission found issues with the trust’s standards of care.

The trust provides a range of community health services and operates the county’s 12 community hospitals.

The trust took a number of steps to change its leadership, including replacing all but one of its non-executive directors and making the role of governors more effective. Monitor closed its investigation into the trust in June.

Ms Haughey said: “Clearly we went through a time of turbulence and significant change in a relative short space of time. The board was not really aware of what was happening on the frontline services.

“That’s changed significantly, moving through with the support of Monitor and working through our action plans from the Care Quality Commission.

“We moved to a place of functionality where we had assurances what was happening in practice was real.”

Ms Haughhey had previously been in the role on an interim basis since February. She is one of eight appointments designed to strengthen the executive director team and trust board.

Fiona will be joined by three locality directors: Linda Boland, Sally O’Donnell and Eugine Yafele. She will work alongside medical director Laurence Mynors-Wallis.

She said: “It’s eight new faces but some of them are fairly old. They all know Dorset. They have been in various posts in Dorset.

“They have got very strong networks both with local people as well as others.

“They are bringing tremendous skills and assets that will just really make us stronger.”

Ms Haughhey has 30 years of experience in the NHS, having originally qualified as a nurse.

During her interim spell, Ms Haughhey said she encountered no major surprises.

She said: “I think there were things we were aware of that needed improvement. With a service this big and the diversity of the services we offer then we will always find things to improve on.

“My job is to demonstrate high standards of clinical nursing practices.

“I go out regularly to the wards and the sites and see the matrons and attend their meetings.”

Ms Haughhey said the quality of the service would only improve by receiving feedback from staff and patients.

She added: “There’s been a lot of investment in our staff and buildings and how our services are delivered.

“We have a reformed board with a very clear focus on improving quality and improving the experience for the patient.”