Regulator brings in new bosses at hospital trust

Monitor, the independent regulator of NHS foundation trusts, has stepped into the crisis surrounding Morecambe Bay’s hospitals.

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust has been hit by a series of scandals including deaths of mothers and babies at Furness General Hospital in Barrow, a shambles in its outpatients appointment system and criticism of low staffing levels at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary’s accident and emergency department.

Monitor announced today that Sir David Henshaw from Liverpool’s Alder Hey Hospital would be appointed as interim chair of the trust.

An interim chief operating officer will also be brought in to run the day-to-day activities of the trust across all its sites.

Stephen Hay, Monitor’s chief operating officer, said: “Our role is to make sure that the board is running its hospitals well on behalf of patients.

“The action we are taking now is designed to strengthen the trust’s board so that it can move quickly and effectively to deal with the concerns identified.

“Sir David Henshaw is an experienced chair and it will be his job to take whatever action is necessary to fix the problems so that patient care is delivered to the standards they should be able to expect - now and in the future.”

Tony Halsall, chief executive of University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I would once again, like to apologise to anyone who has suffered as a result of the trust’s recent failings and to thank every member of staff for their continued hard work and commitment at a time that is difficult for everyone.”