WORKFORCE: The Christie Foundation Trust has appointed a new chair as two of its non-executive directors stepped down because they were “unhappy” with the way it handled the suspension of its chief executive.

Christine Outram, who has been NHS England director of intelligence and strategy since 2012, will take up the role of chair at the Manchester based specialist cancer trust from 1 October.

The appointment is the latest episode in a turbulent period for the trust’s leadership, which began in December last year when chief executive Caroline Shaw was suspended to allow “investigations” as “part of a disciplinary process”.

Christine Outram

Christine Outram will join The Christie as chair on 1 October

The chair who sanctioned the suspension, Lord Bradley, announced his resignation in February after the board was split on the issue. In March, regulator Monitor intervened to appoint Sir Hugh Taylor as interim chair.

To coincide with the appointment of the new chair, The Christie has announced that non-executive directors Barrie Bernstein and Pat Loftus have stood down with “immediate effect”.

The trust said in a statement: “They have both been unhappy with the trust’s handling of the suspension [of Caroline Shaw] and their purpose in standing down at this point is to give the new chair and the council of governors maximum freedom to create a new team and enable the board and the trust to look to the future.”

Interim chair Sir Hugh thanked both the non-executive directors for their “excellent service” and said their decision had been taken with “deep regret”.

Mr Loftus said he wished The Christie “every future success”.

Mr Bernstein said he would continue to support the trust “in any way I can” and added the new board would “now have an opportunity to restore the reputation of one the finest cancer hospitals in the world”.

Commenting on her appointment, Ms Outram said it would “be an honour and a privilege to help lead this hugely impressive and important organisation to achieve its ambitions for the future”.

She added: “I am a strong advocate of the crucially important role of specialist hospitals, which bring world class care and innovation to those who use the service, and drive up excellence in research and education.”

Ms Outram’s previous roles include chief executive of the North London Strategic Health Authority and chief executive of NHS Leeds.