PERFORMANCE: The independent inquiry into poor care at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust will be led by Dr Bill Kirkup CBE, local MPs have revealed.

Following a meeting between local politicians and health minister Dan Poulter today, Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock revealed Dr Kirkup, a member of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, has been appointed to lead the probe.

Dr Kirkup has led a number of health service reviews and was named in December as the lead investigator examining the involvement of Jimmy Saville at Broadmoor Hospital.

Plans for an independent inquiry to investigate infant and maternal deaths between 2004 and 2008 were revealed last month in a letter sent by Dan Poulter to Morecambe Bay trust chair Sir David Henshaw.

Dr Kirkup has previously worked for the Northern Regional Health Authority and in 1999 was appointed Regional Director of Public Health before becoming Associate Chief Medical Officer in the Department of Health in 2005.

The inquiry, which will sit in public, will not begin its work until after a police investigation into deaths at Furness General Hospital has been concluded.

The inquiry’s terms of reference have not yet been revealed.

South Lakes MP and Lib Dem President Tim Farron said: “Bill’s appointment is welcome news. This is something we have long called for and I hope he will be able to get to the bottom of what happened in the same way he did as part of the Hillsborough inquiry.

“Residents need to know the complete truth about what happened and who was responsible. I hope to meet Bill as soon as possible.”