• Former Hinchingbrooke chief executive succeeds controversial chief at special measures trust
  • Lance McCarthy led Hinchingbrooke out of special measures before its merger with Peterborough
  • Princess Alex was rated inadequate and placed in special measures last year

Troubled Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust has appointed a successor to its controversial outgoing chief executive Phil Morley.

The trust announced Lance McCarthy, formerly chief executive of Hinchingbrooke Health Care Trust before its merger with nearby Peterborough hospital this month, will join from May.

Mr Morley announced his retirement after 35 years in the health service in February

The move follows Hinchingbrooke’s chairman Alan Burns joining the Essex trust, which was placed in special measures in October, as chair in December.

Mr Burns and Mr McCarthy oversaw Hinchingbrooke’s rise out of special measures to securing a “good” Care Quality Commission rating last August, following the collapse of the controversial Circle franchise deal in January 2015.

Mr Burns said: “I am delighted on behalf of the trust to announce Lance’s appointment. I know that with Lance’s focus on improving the safety and quality of patients’ experience, we will have the best possible chance of following Hinchingbrooke’s example.”

Mr McCarthy said: “The chance to shape health and social care across West Essex by developing our accountable care partnership is a challenge I shall relish. And finally the chance to work with a staff team who are so obviously caring and committed to doing the best for patients will be a pleasure.”

Princess Alexandra was rated inadequate and placed in special measures in October.

Inspectors noted an “apparent disconnect between the trust board leadership level and the ward level. It was evident that the trust leaders were not aware of many of the concerns we identified through this inspection”.

Mr Morley led the £196m turnover trust since April 2014, having previously been chief executive at Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals Trust. Shortly after he left Yorkshire, a Care Quality Commission inspection report highlighted concerns by some staff about a target driven culture leading to bullying

One complainant’s case was taken up by MPs in Hull, including former health secretary Alan Johnson, who told health secretary Jeremy Hunt it had wider implications for the NHS and whistleblowers. The MPs claimed Mr Morley was unfit to hold a senior NHS role. Mr Morley strongly contested the concerns and said he “will always take a zero tolerance approach to bullying”.