New Blackpool hospital boss eyes fresh 'deaths of despair' challenges in first weeks

Blackpool Victoria Hospital
Her appointment comes as Blackpool was identified in March as having the highest rate of ‘deaths of despair’ -Credit:MEN MEDIA

Blackpool’s new hospital boss says she is looking forward to tackling the challenges ahead following her first few weeks in the role.

Maggie Oldham was announced as the new chief executive of Blackpool Teaching Hospitals in March following the retirement of Trish Armstrong-Child and took up her role in April. In her first report to the hospital trust’s board of directors, she said she had “been struck by the deep sense of community and dedication that I have felt throughout this organisation”.

Her induction has included meetings with some of those already working to tackle Blackpool’s health issues, with visits to organisations including one of the town’s family hubs and Better Start, both aimed at intervening at an early stage.

Ms Oldham has also met members of the Lived Experience Team which works with residents with the most complex needs, held discussions with Healthwatch and been given an insight into housing conditions by visiting a HMO (house in multiple occupancy) in the town.


Her appointment comes as Blackpool was identified in March as having the highest rate of ‘deaths of despair’ (a collective term for deaths from alcohol, drugs or suicide) of any local authority in England, at almost two-and-a-half times the national average.Another recent study found one in 52 children in Blackpool are living in care, compared to one in 140 across England (April 2024, Health Equity North).

Ms Oldham said in her report: “The importance and strength of partnership working across Blackpool organisations and residents was clearly apparent through all these discussions. A real sense of hope and pride in the work already ongoing was expressed, with lived experience and co-production being absolutely central to approaches taken to addressing inequalities.”

The new chief executive joined the NHS in 1982 in an administrative role before moving into nursing and subsequently taking on various leadership roles. Born in Manchester, she has two daughters and six grandchildren with her husband of 38 years.

She added: “In the coming months, I look forward to working with colleagues at the Trust and in partner organisations, as we navigate the challenges ahead, uphold the highest standards of quality, safety and financial management, while continuing to serve the community of Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre.”