• Dr Peter Reading takes up chief executive post at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole FT on August 14
  • PwC director previously worked as turnaround specialist and led UCLH
  • Trust chairwoman says appointment will help ‘restore public confidence’
  • Former chief executive Karen Jackson to remain at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital Trust

A trust in special measures has appointed a former University College London Hospitals boss and private sector consultant as its new chief executive.

HSJ has learned Dr Peter Reading, who has a history of turning around trusts in difficulty, has been appointed chief executive of Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Foundation Trust, which was placed in both quality and financial special measures earlier this year.

He is currently an associate director at PwC.

Former chief executive Karen Jackson, seconded to NHS Improvement in January shortly before the trust was placed in the regime, is to remain at Southport and Ormskirk Hospitals Trust, where she is interim chief executive.

Dr Reading replaces interim chief executive Richard Sunley while finance director Marcus Hassall, who has been on special leave, has returned to the trust to resume his role.

In a message sent to staff this week and seen by HSJ, trust chair Anne Shaw said: “I am confident Peter will bring the strong leadership we need to help us meet the challenges ahead and help us to restore public confidence in our services.”

Dr Reading was the chief executive of Lewisham and Guy’s Mental Health Trust and its predecessor organisations for 10 years from 1988 before moving to the chief executive job at University College London Hospitals for two years.

He led University Hospitals of Leicester Trust between 2000 and 2007, before taking two interim chief executive roles, first at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals FT from 2010 to 2011 and then Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals FT from 2012 to 2014.

In 2014, Dr Reading was named one of HSJ’s top chief executives after building up “an excellent track record as a turnaround interim chief executive”.

He was described by a peer as “steadfast and solid in an extremely challenging situation. He never shirks from the tough conversation… in discharging his responsibilities.”

Since September 2014, Dr Reading has been an associate director with PwC’s health advisory practice.

Part of his role involved advising on leadership, quality and financial transformation in more than 12 trusts, including some in special measures.

In her message to staff, Anne Shaw said Dr Reading had “an outstanding record” of leading organisations to high levels of achievement and of delivering successful transformation programmes.

Dr Reading told staff: “I am delighted to be appointed to lead the trust at what is a very difficult time in its history.

“There is clearly a lot to be done to get our services and our finances to the place that local people, as patients and taxpayers, expect and deserve.

“However, I would not have taken this job if I did not believe that we could do this.”

Dr Reading’s appointment was announced to staff weeks after a whistleblower, who claimed to hold a senior role at the trust, said managers had been “compromised, bullied and afraid to speak out” about the severity of the trust’s problems in recent months.

In his message, Dr Reading said: “My job will be to ensure that the leadership of the trust matches what our excellent staff already offer”, to work well with local partners, and to “restore pride and consistent excellence to our hospitals”.

Dr Reading will take up his post on August 14.