WORKFORCE: An experienced primary care trust chief executive who was named a local area team director on the NHS Commissioning Board less than three weeks ago is now to take up a post as a hospital chief executive.

Ann James, currently chief executive of the Devon, Plymouth and Torbay PCT cluster, was named as the local area team director for Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly on 19 July.

However, this morning Plymouth Hospitals Trust announced she had been appointed the trust’s first permanent chief executive in more than a year.

Trust chair Richard Crompton said: “I am extremely pleased that Ann has accepted the role of chief executive with us. She enjoys a tremendous reputation in Plymouth and the south west and will bring immense experience and knowledge to Plymouth Hospitals, which will benefit our patients, staff and the wider health community.

“Ann’s appointment is key to building a strong senior leadership team and a great future for our trust. I am looking forward to working together to take our trust and all those we serve forward.”

The trust has been without a permanent chief executive since Paul Roberts left in July 2011. A recruitment process last year failed to appoint while in June interviews were postponed after applicants in a second recruitment process were judged to be “insufficiently strong”.

The trust also has a number of non-executive vacancies after three members of the board in protest at Mr Crompton’s appointment in June. The directors were unhappy that the former chief constable had no NHS experience and would not be able to start for three months, losing momentum for improvement built up under acting chair Peter Burroughs.

The trust is due to submit is foundation trust application in October.