The chief executive of the first hospital to be visited by the prime minister and health secretary in their new roles told HSJ they 'seemed like a couple of genuine guys'.

Kingston Hospital trust chief executive Carole Heatley said the visit had been a great success.

Prime minister Gordon Brown, health secretary Alan Johnson and parliamentary under-secretary of state Professor Sir Ara Darzi sat and talked with staff from all levels of seniority at the hospital.

Ms Heatley said: 'Alan Johnson seemed to be very approachable and very personable. He listened to. everything that we were saying and was interested in our success. He came across great - I was really impressed.

'And the feedback I have had from staff was positive, they felt he had listened to them,' she added.

Ms Heatley said she believed that Kingston was selected for the visit because it had been performing well in reducing MRSA, with a 42 per cent fall in cases in the past year and instances down to one a month or fewer.

'Both Alan and Gordon Brown were very relaxed and just seemed like a couple of genuine guys,' she added.

Mr Johnson was at the hospital for over an hour on Saturday and talked to cleaners, student nurses and other staff.