WORKFORCE: Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Foundation Trust has appointed a new chief executive.

Lesley Watts is currently accountable officer at East and North Hertfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group.

She will take up her new role on 15 September, shortly after the trust merges with West Middlesex University Hospital Trust if the current timetable remains the same. The merger is due to take place by 1 September.

She has resigned her appointed governor role at the Royal Free London Foundation Trust as a result of accepting the chief executive role.

Chelsea and Westminster has been led by Elizabeth McManus in the interim after previous chief executive Tony Bell resigned in November last year.

The trust received a “requires improvement” rating from the Care Quality Commission last year. It has previously been one of the most consistently high performing trusts in the country.

Trust chair Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett said: “I am delighted that Lesley will be joining our team. Her leadership and obvious energy, empathy and enthusiasm will help us to continue to build an organisation with local, regional and world-class ambition.

“She has been pivotal to delivering successful mergers and acquisitions within the NHS and has a proven track record in delivering financial turnaround. She oversaw the merger of the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire health authorities into a strategic health authority, established and delivered an £84m turnaround project, and led a programme to pursue clinical improvement in the redesign of local health services.”