The chief executive of a London teaching hospital heading for a 13m deficit has left her post.

Pat McCann, who was chief executive of St Mary's Hospital trust in west London, is still technically employed by the trust, but is not expected to return.

A decision to shake up senior management was made by Trevor Campbell Davies, who took over as trust chair on 20 July.

He told HSJ that he was determined to get 'the right management team at the top' to get the deficit under control and safeguard long-standing plans to rebuild parts of St Mary's.

The scale of the deficit was not apparent until July, when a senior finance manager was suspended amid allegations that the trust board had been misled. The manager, who has not been named, has since resigned.

Mr Campbell Davies blamed poor financial systems and increased activity at the hospital for the deficit.

He said the hospital's cashflow was being maintained by loans totalling 15m from Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster health authority and North Thames regional office.

Accumulated deficits over the past three years suggest that the trust will be facing a 13m overspend by the end of the current financial year.

'If the HA and the regional office took a more trenchant view, St Mary's would be in real trouble,' Mr Campbell Davies said.

In a letter to staff last week, he said: 'For much of 1997/98, it appeared that St Mary's would balance its budget for the year. When we completed the audited accounts last month, they showed a deficit of 6m. Five months into the current year, we face a similar problem for 1998/99.'

'At such a time, it is appropriate for the trust to ensure that its senior management team can bring a fresh approach to the future.'

It continued: 'The chief executive, Pat McCann, has therefore stood down from her present post at St Mary's. She continues to be employed by the trust while considering her future plans.'

The trust board met last week to discuss a three-year recovery plan.