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Chief executive retires after 44 years in NHS

01 August 2019

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The current chief executive of York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Mike Proctor, will step down at the end of the month after 44 years’ service in the NHS.

His astonishing career in the NHS demonstrates how, with hard work and commitment, it really is possible to work your way to the top.

The past four decades have seen Mike rise from his first job as a trainee operating department assistant in Sheffield in 1975, to become chief executive of an NHS trust employing around 9,000 people. The Trust covers an area of 3,400 square miles, providing healthcare for approximately 800,000 people living in and around York, North Yorkshire, North East Yorkshire and Ryedale and manages eight hospital sites.

In the early days Mike’s commitment to patient care and his determination to continue to develop professionally saw him go on to train as a nurse, spending time as a nurse educator then as an external examiner for Hull University and the University of Sheffield.  A variety of senior management roles followed leading to him becoming director of nursing in 1998, chief operating officer and then deputy chief executive of the Trust in 2007.

Mike’s ‘hands on’ approach stems from his time as a nurse, and his passion for delivering high quality care has never faltered even when he has progressed to more senior roles.  He has taken this experience with him to the board and his commitment to patients is well recognised and respected by his board level colleagues.

Mike said: “The NHS I joined in 1975 has changed beyond recognition.  This is especially true of the care and treatments we now offer to patients.  Attitudes in those days would be considered ageist and sexist today.

“While we face enormous challenges now, I do believe that they are in part because we are victims of our own success, offering treatments which would have been unthinkable 40 years ago.  This has led to huge increases in demand for our services which we struggle sometimes to meet.

“I consider my time in the NHS and especially the last 26 years in York to have been a privilege. I know it is time for me to hand over the reins of our fantastic organisation to someone else but I do know I will miss the work and my colleagues massively.  Thank you to everyone for making my working life at the Trust a pleasure, for your understanding when we don’t always get it right and your support in facing the inevitable ups and downs of life in the NHS.”

As well as playing a major role at the Trust, Mike has become a significant senior management figure in the local NHS, building strong links with commissioners and other providers to deliver the best possible services to local people.

Deputy Chief Executive and Finance Director, Andrew Bertram, has worked with Mike for over 20 years. 

Andrew said: “Mike passionately believes in the values and principles of the NHS. He is motivated by seeking to provide high quality care to our patients and he is a strong advocate for our staff.  Mike has never been afraid to make key decisions and he has played an instrumental role in many of the Trust’s developments, changes and improvements over the years. 

“His selfless approach to his work, his dedication to patient care over the past 40 years and his commitment and loyalty to our Trust has been nothing short of outstanding.  Mike will be missed.”

Mike July 2019

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