• Aidan Kehoe set to move to Hamad General Hospital in Doha.
  • Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals Trust is due to merge with Aintree University Hospitals FT

The chief executive of a large acute trust in the north west is set to leave at the end of March after accepting a job to run a hospital in Qatar.

Aidan Kehoe, of Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals Trust, will move to Hamad General Hospital in Doha.

He told HSJ there were various reasons for his decision to leave, including a personal ambition to work abroad and the trust’s imminent merger with Aintree University Hospital Foundation Trust.

He also said that he felt able to leave now that the building project for the new Royal Liverpool Hospital was back on track, after work was halted following the collapse of Carillion.

Mr Kehoe, who is 56, said: “I’ve done 30 years in the NHS and been here six years, and I thought if I wanted to do something different then now is the time to do it.

“All my kids are grown up now and myself and my wife thought it was the right time. It wasn’t about a pay rise, it was genuinely that I always thought it would be good to go and try something different.

“There’s major investment and development in Qatar at the moment, with the world cup going there and everything, so it’ll be an exciting place to be.

“I grew up in Liverpool and it’s been a real privilege being the CEO of the Royal.”

Mr Kehoe’s departure would appear to pave the way for Steve Warburton, Aintree’s chief executive, to lead the new shadow joint board between the two trusts, which is due to be formed in the next few months. The merger is expected to be completed in October.

Mr Kehoe said the permanent appointment of the chief executive of the merged trust was something NHS Improvement will have to discuss with the trust boards.

Besides the Carillion problems, the Royal Liverpool has also struggled financially in recent years. It rejected its control total for 2018-19 and is set to report a deficit of around £40m. The trust is rated “good” by the Care Quality Commission, following an inspection in 2016.

Mr Kehoe joined the Royal Liverpool from Blackpool Teaching Hospitals FT, where he had been chief executive.