• King’s College FT hires deputy group chief executive
  • John Palmer has also been put in charge of King’s College Hospital
  • Appointment follows plans for closer working with Guy’s and St Thomas’

A major teaching trust has appointed a new deputy group chief executive who will also act as site chief for its largest hospital.

King’s College Hospital Foundation Trust has appointed John Palmer, who is currently the chief operating officer for Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board. He will take up the new role in May.

Mr Palmer will have specific responsibility of the trust’s main site, King’s College Hospital in south-east London, and report to the group’s chief executive Clive Kay. He will be a voting member of the board.

A trust statement added: “John will [also] contribute to the development and delivery of the trust’s annual plans and objectives, and will also be accountable for the trust’s transformation agenda, business planning and prioritisation.”

The move follows the trust revealing plans in December to form a committee-in-common with Guy’s and St Thomas’ FT, another high-profile London provider.

The two trusts, which have a joint turnover of more than £2bn, hoped the decision would help to avoid the “distraction” of a full merger between the two, according to a staff-wide email.

Turning King’s performance around is a significant challenge. It has long struggled to meet key performance targets and hit just 69 per cent against the four hour target in January, significantly below the national average that month of 81.7 per cent, according to NHS England figures.