• Two non-executive directors stand down from Gloucestershire Hospitals Foundation Trust board
  • Trust said it needed to “strengthen its financial governance arrangements” weeks after revealing large unplanned deficit
  • Peter Lachecki appointed as next chair

Two non-executive directors are departing from Gloucestershire Hospitals Foundation Trust just weeks after it revealed it was heading for a large unexpected deficit.

The trust has also announced that Peter Lachecki will be its next chair.

Earlier this month Gloucestershire Hospitals announced a “material change to its financial position” following an “independent review of its financial position and financial reporting arrangements”.

The acute trust had forecast to finish 2016-17 with a £5.3m surplus, but at the end of August it already had a deficit of £11.1m – £13.4m worse than planned for the month.

The review found that changes to “financial planning assumptions” had “offset an underlying loss of financial control and a failure to fully deliver improvement plans” and that the trust had significantly overspent its capital budget.

Helen Simpson, the trust’s finance director, resigned in relation to the developments.

On Friday, the trust published a statement that said the governors and the board had decided the board needed to “strengthen its financial governance arrangements”, and therefore intended to “bring additional financial skills and experience in its membership”.

“Two of the trust’s non-executive directors Gordon Mitchell and Helen Munro have decided to stand down, having completed two terms of office,” the statement continued.

“This makes way for two new non-executive director appointments to be made to the board.”

The trust said governors would be seeking candidates with “strong financial expertise to support the trust’s financial recovery and ensure future financial governance arrangements are robust”.

Professor Clair Chilvers, Gloucestershire Hospitals’ chair, said: “We would like to thank Gordon and Helen for their long and committed service to the trust and we wish them well for the future.”

Gloucestershire Hospitals also announced that Mr Lachecki would be the next chair of the trust.

The trust had launched its process to appoint a replacement for Professor Chilvers before the news about its financial deterioration broke.

Mr Lachecki is currently a non-executive director and deputy chair at Worcestershire Health and Care Trust, where he chairs the quality and safety committee and is a member of the audit committee.

Mr Lachecki said he was “eager to work with the board and council of governors to address current challenges, and to work collaboratively with external stakeholders for the benefit of all communities in Gloucestershire needing our services”.

Deborah Lee, the trust’s chief executive, said: “The chair and chief executive relationship is critical to the success of any organisation and I am confident that in Peter, we have appointed a chair who I will forge a very positive working relationship with, while also personally benefiting from his considerable skills and experience in developing me as a new CEO.”

The trust said discussions were underway to confirm Mr Lachecki’s start date.