WORKFORCE: Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust has officially welcomed its new medical director Robert Courteney-Harris who took over his new role today (Wednesday).

Mr Courteney-Harris takes on the job from former medical director Manjit Obhrai who has left the trust after three years where he helped make services safer.

Mr Courteney-Harris, an ear nose and throat consultant, has been seconded to Mid Staffordshire from the same role at the neighbouring University Hospital of North Staffordshire.

He has been working alongside Mr Obhrai since June and there has been specualtion the two trusts, which have already signed a memorandum of understanding, could eventually merge.

As well as undertaking his duties as medical director Mr Courteney-Harris will also undertake 1.5 clinical sessions as an ENT surgeon at Mid Staffordshire. This is despite the recent public inquiry by Robert Francis QC hearing concerns about former medical directors not working full-time in the role before Mr Obhrai joined in 2009.

Earlier this month the Care Quality Commission lifted all of its previous concerns regarding the hospital, saying “essential standards” were being met.

Stafford Hospital’s accident and emergency department has been closed overnight since December 2011 due to patient safety concerns. A decision on its future is expected to be made in October.