The Isle of Wight NHS Trust is to share a chief executive with Portsmouth, as part of plans to merge services.

Penny Emerit, who is already CEO at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, has now been appointed to run the Island's Trust.

It forms part of a partnership announced in January, to combine acute services across the Island, Portsmouth and south east Hampshire (covering around 800,000 people).

Ms Emerit will be the third CEO the Isle of Wight NHS Trust has had in around 18 months, when she takes over on June 1.

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Current boss Darren Cattell took over from Maggie Oldham, who left on secondment, in December 2021.

Mr Cattell will now join Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board (ICB) as Isle of Wight Place Director.

Penny said: “I am proud to have the opportunity to lead two very special organisations. Very different in many respects but both with the same determination and commitment to work in partnership to provide the best possible care to the communities we serve.

“The two organisations have a long history of working together for the benefit of our patients and our work together through this partnership has further demonstrated the ambition and enthusiasm of our fantastic teams to continue to improve for the benefit of both populations.

“We have made good progress in our Acute Services Partnership, and I look forward to working with the local communities, health and care partners and the teams in both Trusts to sustainable clinical services."

She will appoint a single executive team and clinical leadership across both Trusts.

Melloney Poole, Chairman at Isle of Wight NHS Trust and Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, said: “Penny’s appointment is good news for the Island’s NHS, its patients, and staff. She brings with her a wealth of experience, expertise, and an overriding commitment to the continuous and lasting improvement in the services we provide for our patients, their families, our staff and our communities.

“I would also like to pay huge tribute to Darren Cattell, who with our partners has delivered so much for the Isle of Wight.

"A Good rating from the Care Quality Commission, improving staff survey results, and multi-million-pound investment in Island services are testimony to the excellent work that has been done in recent years.”

Penny was appointed as the CEO of Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust (PHU) in September 2022, having undertaken the role on an interim basis since March 2021. 

As CEO, Penny led PHU to a second CQC Good rating in July 2022.

The Acute Services Partnership was first formalised in 2020 to support the clinical and financial sustainability of small scale, fragile hospital services on the Isle of Wight.

When the merger was announced in January this year, concerns were raised whether it would mean more Island patients would have travel to and from the mainland for treatment.

At the time, Mr Cattell said the partnership would not mean "huge numbers of services and people going off the Island."

But he did admit changes need to be made to "better" ferry and travel arrangements, including ensuring appointment times are realistic and work around timetables.