WORKFORCE: A South West trust which has struggled with waiting times performance has recruited a new chief executive from Australia.

Kathy Byrne will join Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust on 25 April.

Ms Byrne was until recently head of Health Support Queensland and deputy director general at the Queensland Department of Health.

Jon Andrewes, Royal Cornwall’s chairman, said she was “exactly what [the trust] and the wider health and social care community need if we are to offer outstanding services over the coming years”.

“Kathy’s experience and track record is exceptional and she received strong support from our clinicians involved in the selection process.”

 Ms Byrne said: “I have visited Cornwall several times over the years and come to appreciate what a special place it is, and Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust really appeals to me as the kind of organisation and challenge to be part of.

“From the start I was impressed by the quality and enthusiasm of the people at [the trust] and the foundations for change and improvement that have been put in place.”

Royal Cornwall’s last chief executive, Bill Shields, stepped down from the trust in October for “personal and family reasons”. Since then the organisation has been run by Andrew MacCullum, the trust’s nurse executive.

The trust has been one of the poorest performers on accident and emergency waiting times in the country, and in September it was criticised by the Care Quality Commission over its staffing arrangements and management of patient flow.

The CQC undertook a comprehensive inspection of the trust in January, and an inspection report is due in coming months.