• Chief executive of East Lancashire Hospitals Trust to also lead Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust
  • Kevin McGee appointed under interim arrangement
  • Follows relatively sudden retirement of Wendy Swift

A struggling acute trust’s leadership will be taken over by the chief executive of a nearby NHS provider, HSJ has learned.

Kevin McGee, chief executive of East Lancashire Hospitals Trust, has been asked to lead Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust on an interim and part-time basis from 1 May. He will continue as accountable officer at ELHT, but there will also be an acting CEO in place.

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This follows the relatively sudden retirement of Wendy Swift from BTHFT.

The two trusts sit within the Lancashire and South Cumbria health economy, although Lancashire Teaching Hospitals FT separates their patches geographically.

There have been serious concerns over quality and operational performance at Blackpool, which is rated “requires improvement” by the Care Quality Commission.

The trust has also been rocked by police investigations into allegations of mistreatment and neglect on the stroke unit at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

ELHT recently retained its “good” rating from the CQC, with many of its community services rated “outstanding”. It also achieved some of the best staff survey scores in the north west last year.

In a message to staff seen by HSJ, ELHT chair Eileen Fairhurst, said today: “Our chief executive, Kevin McGee has been asked to cover the CEO role at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals while they undertake the recruitment process for a new substantive CEO following the retirement of Wendy Swift.

“Kevin has accepted this invitation and together, we have agreed he will do this on a part-time, interim basis from 1 May for a period of six months, for the equivalent of three days per week. During this time Kevin will remain as accountable officer for ELHT.”

Professor Fairhurst said medical director Damian Riley will be acting chief executive of ELHT for the same period, and he will take day to day charge of the trust. Ian Stanley will be acting medical director.