• Worcestershire Acute Hospital chief resigns
  • Will return to Australia in December
  • Comes after Dame Julie Moore is appointed to board

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust has lost its chief executive amid an ongoing shake-up of senior leadership at the troubled organisation.

In a statement the trust said Michelle McKay, who started in the role in March last year, said she was returning to her native Australia after securing a “dream job”.

It comes just a day after Worcestershire Acute announced that Dame Julie Moore, who finished as chief executive at University Hospitals Birmingham FT today, had been appointed as a non-executive director.

Dame Julie is the second senior NHS leader brought in to try to turnaround the trust in the past four months, with former NHS England chief executive Sir David Nicholson appointed as chair in May.

Worcestershire Acute has a long history of poor performance, unstable leadership and financial difficulties.

The trust is currently in quality special measures and was rated Inadequate in June.

In that report, the Care Quality Commission said Ms McKay’s arrival had brought improved leadership to the trust but urged her to move faster on improving performance, particularly in the trust’s emergency departments.

It was Ms McKay’s first job in the NHS, having previously worked in Australia.

She will return to Australia in December to lead Top End Health Services, an integrated health service in the Northern Territory.

According to a trust statement, Ms McKay told staff earlier today: “I have enjoyed my time here enormously and because I am sure that, as a result of your hard work and determination, a much more positive future is now within our grasp, despite the many challenges we still face.”

Sir David said Ms McKay had some “significant successes in tackling the trust’s long-standing challenges”.

He added: “I understand her reasons for not wanting to turn this wonderful new opportunity down, but she will be a hard act to follow.”

He said the will start recruitment for a permanent replacement before Ms McKay leaves “to ensure we have a stable leadership team to take us on the next stage of our journey.”