COMMENT: A positive start,but the first 100 days may prove crucial

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Starting any new job can be a daunting prospect, but when it involves solving innumerable problems and overcoming a troubled legacy it may be doubly daunting.

So spare a thought for Mark Cubbon, the new chief executive of Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust.

Not only is he just one week in to his new role, he faces one of the toughest tasks in the NHS: To turn around a major hospital that is beset by problems and beseiged by critics.

Some would see it as a poison chalice, but Mark is upbeat and positive in the face of bed-blocking problems, over-stretched intensive care facilities, and funding dilemmas.

He has set out on a 100-day plan of improvement, sending a clear message to both staff and patients. He is so confident in his plan that he has posted it online.

A former intensive-care nurse, he plans to get back to the floor, to walk the wards, to listen to staff and patients, and to hold Meet Mark open sessions.

He said: ‘My 100-day plan was a chance for me to outline my approach to the organisation and some of the challenges.

‘It is to set out my aims in being absolutely transparent, setting out what staff can expect from me but also my expectations of them, and my commitments to providing quality care.

‘It was really important for me to set out my clear priorities because the trust has gone through a period of time that has been quite turbulent.

‘We need stability now to bring about the key changes.’

He has prepared the ground well for any criticisms that may emerge in a forthcoming inspection report by the Care Quality Commission.

There is no doubt he faces a tough task, but his confidence is a good sign and we wish him well in his new job.