PERFORMANCE: The interim chair of James Paget University FT has warned the trust must not let the row which unseated his predecessor “distract” it from patient care.

On Thursday the governors of the trust appointed non executive director Peter Franzen as interim chair. He is a former editor of both the Great Yarmouth Mercury and the Eastern Daily Press, and retired in 2009.

Mr Franzen’s predecessor John Hemming resigned this week after local politicians and GPs complained about care at the trust, following three negative inspections from the Care Quality Commission.

Mr Franzen said in a statement: “I have no quibble with the CQC. They saw things that we didn’t and it is up to us to put it right. My role is to build on the good work that has been going on to satisfy the requirements of the CQC, but more importantly to make sure that each patient in this hospital gets the high level of care they have every right to expect.

“A small number of elderly patients were not cared for in the way they should have been and we are very unhappy about that. Dignity and respect for the elderly, no matter how complex their conditions, should never be compromised.”

He added: “Have no doubt, this is a good hospital where the vast majority of patients have nothing but praise for the staff and the way they have been treated both medically and personally.

“I believe we are already on the road to recovery, whatever the outcome of the third CQC report. The pace has been accelerated and much has been done since the CQC’s last visit. Above all, we must not let what is going on distract us from putting the patients first.

“Like all NHS hospitals, we face challenging times ahead as we examine more efficient ways to deliver services, but patient care and safety will never be sacrificed.”

Chief executive Wendy Slaney said: “I welcome Peter’s appointment and I look forward to working with him to serve the interests of the patients and public we serve. Our staff work hard to deliver good care and we are all committed to improving any areas where we fall short.”