• United Lincolnshire medical director joins Worcestershire Acute Hospitals
  • New interim finance director seconded from local mental health trust
  • Trust was put back in special measures last month

United Lincolnshire Hospital Trust has appointed new interim medical and finance directors this month, its latest board papers confirm.

Neill Hepburn took on the role of interim medical director on 1 May, replacing Suneil Kapadia who is joining Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust.

Karen Brown has been seconded from mental health trust Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust to be interim director of finance for six months, replacing Peter Hollinshead, who had been in the same role since February 2016.

Dr Hepburn and Ms Brown take on the roles at a crucial time for the trust, which was put back in special measures last month.

The Care Quality Commission rated the trust good on how caring staff were but inspectors found “significant concerns in medical care and outpatients at Pilgrim Hospital”.

It also raised significant concerns about the “safety of patient care, leadership and managerial oversight” across the trust.

The trust is also overseeing a night time closure of one of its accident and emergency departments and trying to address a deficit that hit £54.9m in 2016-17.

Dr Kapadia had been at the trust since 2013 and was an integral figure in the trust’s decision to shut Grantham and District General Hospital’s emergency department at night. The “temporary” arrangement was put in place last August and was recently extended; it has caused controversy locally.

Dr Kapadia, who spent 18 years Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals Trust before joining United Lincolnshire, always retained the public backing of the board. However, local media reported that he “lost the confidence” of Grantham hospital’s medical advisory committee, which wrote to the trust’s board in December raising concerns that he did not display the “levels of engagement or transparency we would expect” from a medical director.

The committee, chaired by consultant general surgeon Aarti Varma, also said it wanted to put on record its “serious concerns” about other members of the trust’s executive team. At the time, trust chair Dean Fathers said the board had “total confidence” in its executives including Dr Kapadia.

Dr Kapadia’s departure was also announced by the trust in December. Chief executive Jan Sobieraj said he was “very disappointed” to be losing Dr Kapadia, and added that he had originally “told me he intended to leave in 2016 to spend time with his family who live in Wolverhampton. I’m pleased he has stayed on longer than originally intended.”

The trust will hold interviews for a sustentative finance direct this month, minutes from the trust’s April board meeting, published this month, said.