Isle of Wight NHS Trust has appointed Karen Baker as its new Chief Executive Officer.
Karen succeeds Kevin Flynn, who in April 2012 was appointed Deputy Chief Executive of NHS Wales, part of the Welsh Office.
Since April 2010 Karen has been Isle of Wight NHS Trust’s Chief Operating Officer leading the range of healthcare services including acute hospital, community, mental health, prison health and ambulance services provided by the Trust.
Welcoming the appointment, Isle of Wight NHS Trust Chairman Danny Fisher said: 'I am very pleased that Karen applied and, following a national recruitment drive, has been successfully appointed to this important post.
'Karen has extensive experience of leadership across a wide range of health services both at a national, regional and local level.
'Her leadership as Chief Operating Officer over the last two years was vital in steering the organisation to become an NHS Trust in April 2012 and will also be vital in leading the organisation towards NHS Foundation Trust status, during what will be a challenging period as we strive to create sustainable health services for the Island.”
Karen joined the NHS in 1979 as a Student Nurse training at Guy’s Hospital in London.
After working on the wards as a nurse, Karen qualified as a midwife in 1985 and then spent 18 years in clinical practice, delivering her last baby, Oscar, in 2003.
In 1995 Karen started her management career working in Basingstoke, and prior to moving to the Island, Karen undertook a number of roles at Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust, responsible for a range of services including Maternity, Gynaecology, Children’s, Emergency, Acute Medicine, Older People and Cancer Services.
Karen said, 'I'm looking forward to leading Isle of Wight NHS Trust developing clinically led and quality focused services which will enable us to ensure that we meet the challenges of rising demand and structural changes in the NHS.
'In 2012/13 we need to make savings of £7.5 m to enable us to meet rising demand and achieve financial balance, which will make our services sustainable into the future. In this respect, we are no different from anywhere else in England but have the advantage of an integrated health care system similar to the one in Wales.
'Like health services across the UK we must look closely at everything we do to ensure that every service operates on the most efficient basis, ensuring they focus on the needs of patients.
'I want to enagage with patients, staff, stakeholders and the public about how we do this and we are starting a major 6 week staff engagement campaign on 30th July.'
Karen is a keen sailor and cyclist, having competed in the Round the Island Race. S he plans to enter the Wight Challenge Triathlon in Freshwater this year and swum the Solent last year in aid of West Wight Sports Centre.