Sir Julian Hartley visits Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust

Julian Hartley profile picture

05 May 2023

Julian Hartley
Chief Executive

The trust: 

Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust operates from Tameside General Hospital situated in Ashton-under-Lyne and serves a population of around 250,000 people.

The challenge:  

Tameside and Glossop communities experience high levels of deprivation and long-term conditions. This can result in high bed occupancy in the trust and delays in discharging patients who don’t meet the criteria to reside. In addition, along with many other trusts they have come up against funding challenges and workforce pressures.


The trust has a strong record of successful innovation including its award-winning digital hub, supporting people in the community, deflecting demand for emergency attendances and easing pressures on hospital beds. Its impressive control room, developed with onsite expertise, monitors patients’ progress, supporting flow and quality of care. The trust also has a strong health and social care apprenticeship programme.

Julian says: 

It was a real pleasure to return to this part of Greater Manchester which I know well from earlier in my career. It was great to see how the trust leadership team has empowered colleagues to innovate and successfully address longstanding challenges; making a real difference for patients in an area of high deprivation and chronic health problems.

An important strength of the trust is the way it brings together acute, community and social care services to deliver a truly integrated approach. The chief executive, Karen James, is rightly proud of the way the trust reaches out to different neighbourhoods, particularly through its community and social care teams, providing care and crucially, a platform for meaningful prevention.

The award-winning digital hub is a great example of how technological advances can be mobilised to support patients in a range of different settings, including patients’ homes, care homes and virtual wards. The team handling calls and queries encompasses a range of skillsets, including district and A&E nurses, midwives and paramedics. They work in close support with the community crisis team and also help at the front door of the emergency department. From an initial pilot starting six years ago they now handle 16,000 contacts a month. There is a strong and growing evidence base pointing to their success in deflecting emergency attendances, admissions and shortening length of stay. As I said to the team, that is the ’holy grail’ for the NHS.

It was fascinating to see the work of the control room, which acts as the trust’s ‘air traffic control’. Here we saw patients’ progress being monitored in real time, reflecting pressures in the emergency department, ambulance arrivals, estimated admissions, bed capacity, and patient transfers. This gives staff clear insight into the patients most at risk, and who is waiting. It is a patient safety monitoring system that also supports patient flow. It was heartening to see the pride of staff who had helped design, build and run this facility using onsite expertise rather than through a procurement process.

Walking around the acute site, some of the challenges facing the trust were immediately apparent, including the need for additional capital funding. But it was very clear that Karen is a leader who likes to be visible, engaging with colleagues at every turn offering support and encouragement. I had a strong sense of a leadership team committed to helping patients and staff and supporting their community, working well in the face of formidable challenges. Inevitably, these included workforce pressures, but it was heartening to hear about the trust’s support for health and social care apprenticeships, run with Tameside College, covering acute, community primary and social care skills. This is a trust rooted in, and investing in, its community, supporting skills and learning, and bringing much needed hope and opportunity.

About the author

Julian Hartley profile picture

Julian Hartley
Chief Executive

Sir Julian Hartley joined as chief executive in February 2023, having been chief executive of Leeds Teaching Hospitals since 2013, where he led a major programme of culture change and staff engagement to deliver improved quality, operational and financial performance.

Julian’s career in the NHS began as a general management trainee and he worked in a number of posts before progressing to a board director appointment at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust.

In 2019 Julian was asked to be the executive lead for the interim NHS People Plan, having previously worked as managing director of NHS Improving Quality, and in 2022 he was awarded Knight Bachelor for services to healthcare in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. Read more

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