Dame Julie Moore, the chief executive of University Hospitals Birmingham Foundation Trust, is to take over the leadership of its troubled neighbour Heart of England FT, HSJ has learned.

University Hospitals Birmingham’s chair Jacqui Smith will also become chair of Heart of England. However, the FTs will retain separate boards and will not merge. Bringing the leadership of the two organisations together would link five acute hospitals with a combined turnover of £1.4bn.

Dame Julie Moore

Dame Julie Moore will spend the ‘vast majority’ of her time at Heart of England

The plan was confirmed to HSJ this morning by several senior sources in the West Midlands.

Heart of England’s current chair Les Lawrence will step down at the end of November, after less than 18 months in post.

Monitor has said Dame Julie has been brought in on an “interim” basis. However no end date has been given for her appointment.

The move comes a year after Heart of England’s last permanent chief executive, Mark Newbold, resigned. Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh FT chief executive Andrew Foster served as interim chief for much of this year, but has not been appointed on a permanent basis.

HSJ reported earlier this month that Heart of England’s plan to hire a substantive chief executive had been halted after Monitor began an investigation into its finances.

Monitor announced today that the investigation found Heart of England was in breach of its licence to provide NHS services.

A press release issued by the regulator this afternoon said Dame Julie will spend the “vast majority” of her time at Heart of England.

Monitor said the proposal is currently “with the board of Heart of England”, and will be considered for final approval by its provider regulation executive later this week.

Monitor chief executive David Bennett said: “The financial position of Heart of England FT must be fixed. The trust must be in a position where it can provide the services that patients need for years to come.

“We hope that bringing in two experienced NHS leaders will help the trust transform itself into one that consistently gives the quality of care patients expect and lives within its budget.”

Although both FTs are currently in deficit, Heart of England’s position has deteriorated rapidly during 2015-16.

Facts about both FTs

Heart of England

  • Turnover 2014-15: £647.6m
  • Specialised services income: £105m
  • Hospitals: Heartlands, Bordsley Green; Good Hope, Sutton Coldfield; Solihull, Solihull; and Birmingham Chest Clinic, Birmingham
  • Forecast deficit at Q1: £5.6m
  • Actual deficit at month five: £29.5m
  • CQC rating: “Requires improvement”
  • Employees at Q1: 9,074

University Hospitals Birmingham

  • Turnover 2014-15: £743.1m
  • Specialised services income: £327.7m
  • Hospitals: Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Edgbaston
  • Forecast deficit at Q1: £23.7m
  • Actual deficit at month three: £6.4m
  • CQC rating: “Good”
  • Employees at Q1: 7,818

Updated: This story was updated at 4.30pm on 20 October to include information supplied by Monitor.

Exclusive: Julie Moore to run two Birmingham FTs