A major London teaching hospital rated inadequate last year has been assigned an improvement director.

Marie-Noelle Orzel has been appointed by NHS Improvement to work as director of improvement at St George’s University Hospitals Foundation Trust.

St George’s Hospital

St George’s Hospital

St George’s was put in special measures in October

The trust was rated inadequate by the Care Quality Commission in October and placed in special measures. It is expected to have a £55.5m deficit by the end of the financial year. However, the number of patients being seen within the 18 week target is steady and 92.4 per cent of patients in accident and emergency are seen within four hours.

Last April, chief executive Miles Scott stepped down, following regulatory scrutiny of the trust’s sudden financial decline in 2015. Acting chief executive Paula Vasco-Knight was then suspended over serious financial allegations less than two weeks after Mr Scott’s departure. Last week she pleaded guilty to fraudulently paying her husband more than £11,000. Medical director Simon Mackenzie has been acting chief executive since May.

Ms Orzel will start at the trust on an interim basis on 13 February. Her salary will be paid by NHS Improvement.

She is a nurse by background and has previously worked as improvement director at North Cumbria University Hospitals and East Lancashire Hospitals Trust.

She has also been a director of nursing at both Royal Devon and Exeter Foundation Trust and North Bristol Trust, where she subsequently served as chief executive.

Ms Orzel said: “I am pleased to be joining St George’s, and look forward to working with the trust board and staff to help drive forward the significant improvement work already started.”

Trust chair Sir David Henshaw said: “I am pleased to welcome Marie-Noelle to the trust. Her experience will help us on the improvement journey we have started, and I look forward to working with her.”

Steve Russell, London regional director at NHS Improvement, said: “Marie-Noelle is an experienced clinician and leader with a track record of supporting complex health organisations to improve. I am confident she will work well with the leadership team and staff throughout St George’s to continue their progress in making improvements for patients and their families.”

The rest of the St George’s board will remain unchanged.