WORKFORCE: Financially struggling University Hospital of North Staffordshire has appointed Mark Hackett as chief executive.

Mr Hackett will join from University Hospital Southampton Foundation Trust, where he has been chief executive for more than eight years, in July.

He replaces Julia Bridgewater who resigned in January and has since moved to Shropshire Community Health Trust.

It emerged in December that the trust, which had previously predicted a £2m surplus for 2012-13, had serious financial problems. It revised its prediction to a £23.8m deficit for the year.

This was blamed on unprecedented emergency demand, which forced the trust to open an extra 130 beds.

Mr Hackett joins the Staffordshire trust as it considers cutting 400 posts. It could also be required to take on additional demand if it is decided to close further services at nearby Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust, which has been placed into administration.

The trust published the plans last month to cut jobs in a bid to save £22m to help tackle an underlying deficit of £41m in 2013-14.

Posts will be reduced by cutting the use of agency staff and deleting vacant jobs.

Other savings will be made by improving procurement, “housekeeping” and productivity.

Mr Hackett has previously worked as chief executive at Birmingham Women’s Hospital Trust and the Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals Trust.

Following the announcement he said: “I am excited to be joining the trust at this pivotal time. We will need to maintain and build upon the many excellent services the trust provides during a financially challenging period.”

Trust chairman John MacDonald added: “Mark comes to North Staffordshire with extensive experience, leading a large teaching hospital through financial challenges and service transformation to foundation trust status.”