• Sue Musson appointed chair of the joint board between two Liverpool acute trusts
  • Aintree University Hospital and Royal Liverpool are due to merge
  • Ms Musson has chaired two troubled providers 

A new chair has been appointed to what will be one of the largest NHS trusts in the north of England, after an incumbent candidate was rejected for the role.

Sue Musson has been appointed chair of the joint board that’s been created between Aintree University Hospital Foundation Trust and the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals Trust.

The trusts are in the process of merging, to create a £900m turnover organisation, Liverpool University Hospitals FT. The aim is to complete the merger by October 2019, although this is dependent on approval by regulators.

Ms Musson, who the trusts said “has extensive experience in providing leadership to strengthen collaboration and strategic change”, has chaired Lancashire Teaching Hospitals FT since January 2017, having previously led Southport and Ormskirk Hospitals Trust.

Both these trusts had major issues with quality, performance, and finance, before and during Ms Musson’s tenures. Both are rated “requires improvement” by the Care Quality Commission. 

There are currently similar concerns at both the Liverpool trusts, but particularly the Royal Liverpool.

Ms Musson will be involved in selecting the new chief executive for the Liverpool trusts. Steve Warburton, the current CEO of Aintree, is among the candidates.

Ms Musson said: “I recognise that there will also be challenges we must face. I believe that by working collaboratively, we can tackle the health issues that are prevalent within our health economy, provide consistent and high quality care to all of our patients and make Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust the best place to work for all our staff.

“Being offered the opportunity to deliver the planned merger of two major trusts was the only opportunity that could have tempted me away from Lancashire Teaching Hospitals.”

Ms Musson’s appointment comes after a previous recruitment process was aborted.

Neil Goodwin, the chair of Aintree, was the only candidate interviewed, but was rejected by the appointment panel. There had also been concerns about his potential appointment from NHS Improvement, due to Aintree’s “requires improvement” rating. The Royal’s chairman Bill Griffiths stepped down at the start of the year.

During her time at SOHT, Ms Musson oversaw the disciplinary process in which former chief executive Jonathan Parry was sacked for gross misconduct.

She has also held non-executive director and senior independent director roles at Alder Hey Children’s FT and Bridgewater Community Healthcare FT, and served as a patient representative for the national joint registry for five years.

She will start in post as chair of the interim board in July.