The former chief executive of University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust is due to give evidence today to an independent inquiry examining infant and maternal deaths.

Tony Halsall, who was chief executive at the North West trust between 2007 and 2012, will appear at the independent inquiry being chaired in private by Bill Kirkup to answer questions about his role at the trust and events surrounding failures in the maternity unity at Furness General Hospital.

Mr Halsall stepped down from the trust in 2012 following the launch of a police investigation into deaths at the trust. He continued to receive his salary until October 2013 as well as a lease car entitlement and career management advice to the value of £5,000 plus VAT.

The inquiry was set up by the government last year to examine poor care at the trust between 2004 and 2013. This follows a campaign by local families including James Titcombe, whose son Joshua died at the trust in 2008.

Up to the start of November the inquiry has interviewed 90 people including former NHS England chief executive Sir David Nicholson, former chief executive of the Care Quality Commission Cynthia Bower, and Mike Farrar, former chief executive of the NHS Confederation who also headed the North West Strategic Health Authority between 2006 and 2011.

An update from the inquiry panel in November revealed eight interviews had already been planned with dates for 18 witnesses yet to be arranged. A total of 13 new witnesses were identified since the panel met in October.

In the update on the inquiry’s website Dr Kirkup said: “The increase in interviewees was a sign that evidence was providing new leads and also that it was necessary to clarify matters and that, on occasions, this was best achieved via an interview.

“It is an inevitable and correct part of the process and should be seen as a success of the evidence gathering programme,” he added.