WORKFORCE: Sue Page, the chief executive of NHS Cumbria, has agreed to lead a “turnaround team” established to address the problems at a troubled Northern Ireland health trust.

Northern Ireland minister of health, social services and public safety Edwin Poots announced Ms Page’s appointment to the team in a written statement to the Northern Ireland assembly in December.

The team will be responsible for completing a “strategic overview to establish what changes and support might be required to accelerate progress” at the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, he told the assembly.

He added that the trust, which provides services from nine different hospitals and provides services to a population of around 459,000 people, had “faced significant challenges since its establishment in April 2007”.

“In spite of support measures which have been put in place previously to assist the Trust, and the actions which have been taken, there needs to be further progress in the improvement of patient experience and care in the Northern area,” the statement continued.

“There are no signs of sufficient improvement in waiting times at Emergency Departments (EDs) in spite of the earlier Hinds and Rutter Reviews of the Trust. The numbers of patients waiting over 12 hours at Emergency Departments have been unacceptably high throughout the year, and rising lately, and significant numbers of patients are waiting longer than 4 hours at the EDs.”