STRUCTURE: A new chief executive has been appointed to a troubled hospital trust - from her role at a well-regarded neighbouring organisation with which it is exploring “buddying” arrangements.

Katie Fisher from Royal Free London Foundation Trust will take up the chief executive role at West Hertfordshire Hospitals Trust this month.

Ms Fisher has been director of service transformation at the Royal Free since July 2014.

HSJ reported earlier today that the Hertfordshire trust was exploring a “buddying” arrangement with its foundation trust neighbour to the south. Another trust is also looking at joining the hospital group led by the Royal Free.

The Royal Free took over Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals Trust in July 2014 after Tim Peachey, the Royal Free’s divisional director for urgent care, was installed as chief executive at Barnet and Chase Farm in November 2013.

In a statement today, Ms Fisher said: ”I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead West Hertfordshire Hospitals Trust. I am really looking forward to working with such a committed and caring workforce and hope to meet as many of you as possible in the coming weeks.”

Ms Fisher will replace Jac Kelly, who has been interim chief executive since Sam Jones left to join NHS England in January 2015, in June.

West Herts chair Steve Barnett said in an email to staff: ”I want to place on record, on behalf of myself and everyone connected with the trust, our deep appreciation and gratitude for the immense contribution Jac has made at West Herts.

“Jac has provided first class leadership at the trust during the many challenges that we have been faced with and leaves us with solid foundations to continue our quality improvement journey. I know that you will want to join me in thanking Jac and wishing her all the best for the future.”