Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells trust has announced the appointment of an interim chair to steer it through the aftermath of the fatal outbreak of Clostridium difficile.

George Jenkins will temporarily leave his post as chair of East Kent Hospitals trust and chair Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells until the end of March 2008.

He will play a key role in the appointment of a permanent chair and chief executive. But he told HSJ he was in no hurry to replace interim chief executive Glenn Douglas. 'I have a lot of confidence in Glenn Douglas,' he said.

Mr Jenkins said one of his first priorities was to get a clear picture of the challenges facing the trust. 'A lot of the stuff the public sees is from the media and I need to do a real stock take,' he said.

He said management would have to regain the trust of staff before attempting to rebuild public confidence. 'We have to create confidence within the organisation about its board and give it some leadership,' he said. He added the board must 'take ownership' of efforts to improve infection control and identify 'quick wins'.

Nicholas Wells, currently vice-chair of East Kent Hospitals trust, will step up as acting chair.

For more analysis of what went wrong at the trust, click here