Published: 11:00, 07 April 2021
| Updated: 11:40, 07 April 2021
A struggling hospital trust has appointed a new interim chief executive to lead its improvement programme.
Dr George Findlay will take over at Medway NHS Foundation Trust next month replacing current trust boss James Devine, who announced his departure last month.
It follows a difficult period for the trust after the emergency department at Medway Maritime Hospital was downgraded to the lowest rating by inspectors from the CQC on a visit before Christmas amid the peak of the second Covid wave.
The trust was served with improvement notices by the CQC to make urgent changes after giving it a rating of inadequate.
The health watchdog cited concerns over patient safety and at the trust's last full inspection highlighted that although improvements were taking place, Mr Devine conceded they were not happening fast enough.
Mr Devine has been leading the trust since 2018 and launched its improvement plan last summer with the goal of achieving an overall Good rating from the CQC.
Dr Findlay will be joining Medway Maritime from his previous role as deputy chief executive and chief medical officer at the University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust – which formed after a merger between Western Sussex Hospitals (WSHT) and Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals (BSUH).
He will take up his position on May 1 for 18 months.
During his seven years at WSHT, Dr Findlay helped oversee the trust become the first non-specialist acute care trust in the country to be rated Outstanding on all key inspection areas by the CQC.
Since 2017, he has also been part of the leadership team taking BSUH out of special measures and towards the Good rating it now holds from the CQC.
Dr Findlay said: "I am very much looking forward to joining Medway, where I believe I will be able to make a difference to patient experience, as the Trust continues to drive improvement across the hospital.”
Chairman of Medway NHS Foundation Trust Jo Palmer added: "I am delighted to welcome George to Medway. He joins us at an important time, just as we are entering the second phase of our improvement programme, and as we restart our services following the second wave of the pandemic.
“His experience at Western Sussex will be invaluable as we build on the foundations laid to improve the quality of care for our patients.
"He joins us at an important time, just as we are entering the second phase of our improvement programme..."
"George’s background will also help us build on our work to become more clinically led, putting our clinical colleagues at the heart of decision-making to enhance patient outcomes.”
Dr Findlay trained in medicine at Dundee University before joining the RAF as a medical officer and returning to the NHS in 1995.
The trust says his experience as a clinical leader both at national and regional levels and in working as a specialist intensive care consultant will stand him in good stead to lead the trust.
He worked as a clinical advisor to the Welsh government between 2008 and 2014 on organ donation and transplantation which involved drafting and consulting on new legislation in Wales including new presumed consent laws.
He also led the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) for 10 years. The organisation works to identify and make recommendations to improve remedial factors in health care.
Dr Findlay is also a published medical researcher which has seen his ideas shaping health care standards and policy in 20 national medical titles.
Mr Devine is leaving Medway at the end of April after four and a half years having initially joined as a director of human resources in 2016.