One of the more troubled trusts in the NHS system has announced a new chief executive in an attempt to improve its operations.
Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust will replace controversial outgoing chief executive Phil Morley with Lance McCarthy.
The appointee formerly worked as the Chief Executive of Hinchingbrooke Health Care Trust before its merger with nearby Peterborough Hospital this month.
McCarthy will assume his new role in May, after Morley announced his retirement following 35 years in the healthcare industry.
Hinchingbrooke’s chairman Alan Burns had joined the Essex trust in December.
The trust has previously been placed in special measures following both financial and performance difficulties.
But Burns and McCarthy were able to turn its performance around and achieve a good rating from the Care Quality Commission in August.
Burns spoke on the new appointment, and was enthusiastic about the qualities that McCarthy will bring it to the role.
“I am delighted on behalf of the trust to announce Lance’s appointment. I know that with Lance’s focus on improving the safety and quality of patients’ experience, we will have the best possible chance of following Hinchingbrooke’s example.”
While McCarthy himself acknowledged that the position is a challenging one, but also an exciting opportunity.
“The chance to shape health and social care across West Essex by developing our accountable care partnership is a challenge I shall relish. And finally the chance to work with a staff team who are so obviously caring and committed to doing the best for patients will be a pleasure.”
Princess Alexandra was rated inadequate and placed in special measures in October.
Inspectors noted an “apparent disconnect between the trust board leadership level and the ward level. It was evident that the trust leaders were not aware of many of the concerns we identified through this inspection”.
Morley presided over a contentious period in the history of the trust, during which it was discovered that bullying had been rife.
One particular complainant had his case taken up by MPs including the former Health Secretary Alan Johnson.
It was suggested at this time that it had wider implications for the NHS and whistleblowers, with members of parliament claiming that Morley was unfit to hold a senior NHS role.
At the time, Morley had strongly contested the concerns and claimed that he would “always take a zero tolerance approach to bullying”.