Published: 27/06/2002, Volume II2, No. 5811 Page 4

Crisis-hit Royal United Hospital Bath trust has lost another chief executive, with Richard Gleave standing down this week after just nine months to allow a more experienced hand to tackle the trust's problems.

Mr Gleave has been replaced by Jan Filochowski, the chief executive credited with turning round no-star Medway trust, who will take up the RUH Bath post on a six-month secondment.

Acting RUH Bath trust chair Professor Ruth Hawker said 'we need a very experienced chief executive' to deal with the 'very major challenges the trust faces'.

At the end of April, the trust had 235 patients waiting 15 months and over, compared with 75 for the rest of England. When Mr Gleave started, it was his first public sector chief executive post and at the time it was 'widely thought this was a stable and effective trust with few if any major problems', she said. Since then, two reviews found evidence of 'deliberate falsification' of waiting-list figures and 'serious' deterioration in the trust's finances.

The Department of Health stressed that 'it was recognised by all concerned - including Richard himself - that the next phase of the trust's recovery required a chief executive with more experience in this area'. The DoH stressed that he had not been sacked. Mr Gleave is on leave and will work on policy development on secondment to the DoH.

Mr Gleave took over from former chief executive Barbara Harris when she left to take up her post as director of the NHS Leadership Centre, from which she stepped down after the trust was criticised by the Commission for Health Improvement. Finance director Martin Dove also remains suspended since May, pending disciplinary action in the wake of the reviews. Medical director Graham Smith resigned and was suspended from his substantive consultant post while an unrelated investigation into 'the potential inappropriate use of NHS resources for the treatment of private patients' takes place.