WORKFORCE: A new board has been appointed to run Hinchingbrooke Health Care Trust, led by former strategic health authority boss Alan Burns as chair.

However the chief executive and executive team of the trust, which was put in special measures after being rated “inadequate” by the Care Quality Commission, will continue in their posts.

Appointments for the new non-executive directors will be announced shortly, as will an improvement director appointed by the NHS Trust Development Authority.

Hinchingbrooke Hospital

Hinchingbrooke’s new board will meet for its first public meeting on 1 April

Circle, the private company that runs the hospital, announced in January that it planned to pull out of its 10 year contract.

The hospital, which was the first privately operated NHS trust in the country, will return to the NHS on 1 April, with a new board taking over management along the lines of a typical NHS trust model.

Under the terms of the Hinchingbrooke franchise agreement Circle is liable to meet the costs arising from termination. Costs of £130,000 have been agreed with the trust and the TDA.

This will be met through “provision of procurement services”, which Circle will continue to provide for a “limited period” to ensure “minimal disruption to services”.

In a joint statement Circle, the TDA and Hinchingbrooke said that because the current non-executives were specifically appointed when the franchise was set up, their posts would end with the franchise on 31 March.

However the chief executive, Hisham Adel-Rahman, and the rest of the executive team will continue in their posts.

Mike Burrows will be replaced as chair by retired NHS chief executive Alan Burns, who previously led Trent SHA.

He has also been vice chair of the NHS Confederation, chair of the National Commissioning Board for Research and Development in Service Delivery and Organisation, and chair of the NHS Forward Thinking Group.

The statement said he had “great experience in strategy, financial recovery and turnaround, change management and board development”.

Mr Burns said he was “delighted” to join the trust “to lead and support Hinchingbrooke staff at all levels to deliver improvements which ensure our patients receive the best possible care”.

He said he would appear at the first public meeting of the new board on 1 April, “where we will enact some legally necessary decisions, but also begin the process of setting strategic objectives and direction”.

Mr Abdel-Rahman said: “We look forward to working with [Mr Burns] and our new non-executive directors to progress our quality improvement plan and deliver high quality services to our patients in all areas.”

Mark Cubbon, the TDA’s portfolio director, said: “I would like to thank the trust, Circle and partners for working to deliver a smooth transition to NHS management, whilst ensuring business as usual continues for patients and staff.

“I am delighted that Alan will be joining the trust to lead the board and lend his expertise and support as the trust drives forward improvements to care quality.”

As well as being rated inadequate, Hinchingbrooke’s deficit could exceed £12m this year, and the trust has applied for a government bailout of £9.6m.