Chairman to retire after 50 years in the NHS

Chairman to retire after 50 years in the NHS

After over decade at EMAS as a Non-executive Director and Chairman of the Executive Board, and a phenomenal 50 years in the NHS, Pauline Tagg retired yesterday (31 July 2022).

We recently sat down with Pauline to look back at her career.

Pauline originally came to the NHS as a nurse in 1972, and her career saw her become a midwife, general manager and eventually an executive director.

Pauline has retired once before; back in 2008 she retired from her role of Executive Nurse Director at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust. Shortly after that, in 2009, she received her MBE for her contribution to health care in Leicestershire.

Pauline explained: “Truthfully, when I retired from being an executive director the plan was to relax and go to Spain. I retired on 22 July and my husband and I travelled to Spain on 28 July.

“We did quite a bit of relaxing, played some golf (badly on my part) but then my mum became ill. I returned to the UK and between looking after mum, I wanted something to do to keep me busy, so I contacted the then regional nursing director about consultancy work.

“My first project was at EMAS carrying out a governance review. I quickly realised that this type of work wasn’t for me though as I didn’t like creating a report about an organisation and then leaving it to someone else to sort out any problems. I wanted to be able to help NHS organisations, so I decided to apply to become a Non-executive Director (NED).”

Initially Pauline was a NED for Leicestershire Primary Care Trust (PCT) but then when PCTs were replaced by clinical commissioning groups and her role was changed to a lay member, she decided to apply to EMAS for a NED role in 2011.

We asked Pauline why she decided to apply to be our Chairman and she said:

“I felt frustrated as a NED as I wanted to do more, so I decided to apply for chairman roles. Then our chairman left and I was asked to be the interim chairman. This became permanent in 2013 following the NHS England recruitment process.”

Since her appointment Pauline has seen EMAS through some tough years and helped the organisation go from a Care Quality Commission rating of ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’ with ‘outstanding’ for caring, which she says is one of her proudest moments.

She has also mentored and supported many colleagues, including our Chief Executive Richard Henderson.

Pauline said: “I feel so proud of Richard for all he’s achieved. It’s given me great pleasure to see him grow into the Chief Executive he is today.”

Set to retire two years ago, Pauline decided to extend her term so she could retire in July this year; as it marks 50 years in the NHS for her and also coincides with her birthday. However, she won’t be leaving the NHS completely and is taking up a part-time role as a non-executive in Leicestershire.

She said: “The part-time role will mean my husband and I will have more time to do all the things we talked about in 2008!

“We plan to travel a lot, we have already booked to go on a cruise around New Zealand and Australia in January next year.”

Finally, she added on leaving EMAS:

“I have worked in several other NHS organisations but EMAS feels like a family to me. We all care about each other. I shall miss that.

“Thank you to all those who I have worked with and who have supported me here at EMAS. I know EMAS is in safe hands and I wish you all every success.”

The process for appointing a new Chair is still taking place. Our Deputy Chair Karen Tomlinson will undertake any duties required of the Chair in the meantime.

Chief Executive Richard Henderson with Chairman Pauline Tagg at her retirement presentation
Chief Executive Richard Henderson with Chairman Pauline Tagg at her retirement presentation
Pauline Tagg.jpg