Staff across Salisbury District Hospital will pay tribute to Finance Director, Malcolm Cassells, who will retire at the end of August, having given 41 years’ outstanding service in the NHS, with 31 years spent in Salisbury.
He will be replaced by Lisa Thomas, who was Deputy Director of Finance at the Royal United Hospital in Bath.
Mr Cassells joined as finance director of the Salisbury Health Authority in 1986 and is one of the longest serving directors of finance in the country. He steered the authority financially through the early days, before it became an integrated NHS Trust with general, regional, community and mental health services under the name of Salisbury Health Care NHS Trust. National changes in the provision of mental health and community services meant that these moved to standalone specialist organisations in 2001.
Consistently high standards and excellent financial management enabled the Trust to apply for NHS Foundation status and the Trust was one of the early NHS Foundation Trusts in the country when it was established in 2006, with the current name of Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust.
His knowledge and experience enabled the Trust to set up ground-breaking commercial developments. These included the first NHS owned company in England, Odstock Medical Ltd. This is the UK’s leading provider of Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) devices developed by clinical engineers and clinicians to improve mobility for patients with lower limb and upper limb problems. The Trust sells services such as laundry and payroll to other Trusts and Mr Cassells led the launch and commercial development of its highly successful and unique ‘My Trusty’ skincare range of products.
He was heavily involved in national projects to improve efficiency and innovation across the health sector, including the Lord Carter work. He established the South West Innovation Hub to protect and commercialise ideas and technologies developed by the NHS, and to promote innovative thinking.
He has also acted as Chief Executive in Salisbury on a number of occasions and in recent years was Deputy Chief Executive.
Dr Nick Marsden, Chairman of Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust said: “Malcolm has been pivotal in our success, our national reputation for innovation and commercial development and a tradition of sound financial management that has put us in a stronger position than many other trusts at a time of real financial challenge for the whole of the NHS.”
Malcolm Cassells said: “There have been huge changes during my 31 years in Salisbury and it has been a privilege to be a part of the journey and work with colleagues to improve patient services. I have also experienced personally the excellence of our clinical services for which I am very grateful. It has been great to be part of an organisation where patient care comes first. Clearly there are many difficult issues to be faced, but I look forward to seeing the Trust continue to innovate, overcome the challenges and provide excellent care over the years ahead.”
Mr Cassells added: “I would also like to acknowledge the support and commitment of my staff in the Finance and Procurement Directorate who over the years have consistently delivered high quality work, for which the Trust is very grateful.”