Blackpool Vic boss gets new job in charge at the Royal Preston

The chief executive of Blackpool Victoria Hospital is set to take on the same role at the Royal Preston and Chorley and South Ribble hospitals.

Thursday, 27th May 2021, 9:23 pm

The chief executive of Blackpool Victoria Hospital is set to take on the same role at the Royal Preston and Chorley and South Ribble hospitals.

Kevin McGee, who was appointed to the top job at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in 2019, will take over at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (LTH) later this year. He has also been in charge at the trust that runs the Royal Blackburn since 2014.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service understands that there has been no firm decision over whether Mr. McGee will surrender either or both of his other positions in order to focus on LTH.

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Kevin McGee has been in charge at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust since 2019
Kevin McGee has been in charge at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust since 2019

There have been moves in recent years to forge closer co-operation between the four hospital trusts wholly located within Lancashire, with a system of so-called “mutual aid” developed as a mechanism to provide assistance across organisational boundaries and relieve pressure on one or more of them when needed. It recently swung into action during the pandemic when it was used to maximise critical care capacity in the county.

All of the trusts are also part of Lancashire and South Cumbria’s Integrated Care System (ICS), the partnership of health and social care organisations designed to overhaul the way care is delivered across the patch. Mr. McGee is currently the “hospital cell lead” for that wider region.

He said in a statement that he was “absolutely delighted” about taking over at LTH.

“[It is] a leading major trauma and specialist tertiary centre [and] plays a pivotal role in the local health and care system.

“I am determined to ensure that we provide our local communities with the best possible services in collaboration with our key partners and by maximising the opportunities presented by the New Hospitals Programme.”

Mr. McGee has worked at director level for over 20 years with a specific background in finance, but has also undertaken roles as chief operating officer and in commissioning and performance management.

At an ICS board meeting in March, he issued a candid assessment of the “difficult decisions” that lie ahead if the NHS in Lancashire and South Cumbria is to hit a £200m savings target in the financial year ahead.

“We’re going to have to do things…that reduce our reliance on staff – and particularly the use of bank and agency staff – which means that we’re not going to be able to do everything in all locations [and] that we’re not all going to be able to have all the support services that we have had.

“We’re going to need to do some really difficult stuff around consolidation of staff [and] services – and, ultimately, the configuration of what we have now will look very different in the future.

“It can be better, but it will look different. Unless we get right behind that [and] we are prepared to make some really difficult decisions and have some really difficult conversations…we’re not going to get on top of this,” said Mr. McGee at the time.

If he did take on the trio of trusts running from Blackpool in the west, via Preston and Chorley, to Blackburn in the east, the only one in the county that he would not control is University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust to the north. Yet it is with the latter that LTH is currently collaborating in an attempt to secure government cash for either one new acute facility in the region – dubbed a “super hospital” – or two, which, under either scenario, would ultimately replace the Royal Preston and Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

His appointment at the Central Lancashire trust follows the announcement back in January that Karen Partington, who has held the role for a decade, will retire at the end of the year after more than 40 years in the NHS.

It is unclear whether that timetable will now change following confirmation that Mr. McGee has secured the post. Ms. Partington previously said that she would honour a commitment to give a years’ notice, rather than the required six months, in order to allow time to find her successor.

Professor Ebrahim Adia, LTH chair, thanked those from across the trust and the regional healthcare system, who had helped make the decision to appoint Mr. McGee.

“As you would expect with a post of this importance, the recruitment process has been extensive. Kevin has an excellent track record of delivering financial and performance improvements and his knowledge of the Lancashire health and care system will help us to continue to build our partnerships to the benefit of patients."