WORKFORCE: Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust has announced the appointment of its fourth chair since January 2010.

George Wood is the new interim chair of the east London trust, after previous interim chair Edwin Doyle announced he was stepping down with immediate effect.

It has been suggested Mr Doyle had been considering enforcing a reduction in the number of births at Queen’s Hospital, after Care Quality Commission criticism of the maternity service there, something NHS London were unhappy about.

A spokeswoman for the trust said it had already agreed a plan to reduce the number of births at the trust with the CQC and NHS London.

Last week the trust received a report from the CQC criticising standards in several areas and the Secretary of State gave permission for maternity and emergency services to be removed from King George Hospital, Ilford.

However, Andrew Lansley said the £408m-turnover trust will not be reconfigured until the CQC’s safety concerns are satisfied.

Mr Doyle had replaced Sir David Varney who left in June 2010, after six months in post.

Sir David, an advisor to the prime minister on public service transformation between 2007 and 2009, was said to have disagreed with NHS London’s strategy of not paying off the underlying deficit until the trust was in balance.

The underlying deficit was due to be £137m by the end of March 2011 and is now £160m.

Barbara Liggins was interim chair before Sir David.

Announcing his departure, Mr Doyle said: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the challenges as interim chair of this trust. I am proud to have been associated with a trust with such specialist high quality services like neurosciences, cancer and hyper acute stroke. I am also pleased with the improvements that have been made in reducing mortality and hospital acquired infections and the improvements to the care of the elderly.

He added: “I believe that the board and the leadership team have a full understanding of the challenges ahead and with the promised support have an opportunity to move the trust to another level in terms of performance and quality. I fully support George in taking the trust forward.”

Mr Wood said:“The trust has many challenges to deal with, however, we have made real progress in several areas. My job, working with the board, is to accelerate delivery of improvements, both to the patient experience and the financial performance of the trust.”