The temporary boss at Blackpool Victoria Hospital is set to be given the job permanently.
Final touches are being made to an agreement that will extend Kevin McGee’s stay as chief executive, after governors gave their blessing at a recent meeting.
An official announcement, which was expected by now, has been delayed because the decision has yet to be rubber stamped, though the Vic said one should be made “very shortly.”
Mr McGee replaced the retired Wendy Swift in May on a six-month job share basis with the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust – though Dr Damian Riley was charged with running the day-to-day business there.
Mr McGee’s future role in East Lancashire is now unclear, with the trust refusing to say whether he will stay in charge once his Vic appointment is confirmed.
It said: "Discussions are currently taking place with key stakeholders of both trusts about the role of the chief executive. We expect an announcement to be made very shortly.’’
Mr McGee recently spoke of “working in a different way across Lancashire”, sparking talk of a merger between the two trusts.
He told the Health Service Journal: “Take personalities out of it, just the ability to work together in a different way and take organisational barriers out of the way, I think, is very powerful. So it may lead in time to a different way of working across Lancashire. Linking the trusts together in a different way and sharing leadership is possibly one way forward.”
The Vic did not answer when asked if Mr McGee’s appointment would “signal the start” of such a merger.
Vic bosses turned to Mr McGee after being left disappointed by the calibre of applicants for the vacant chief executive role, though his tenure has been as tumultuous as the final months of Ms Swift’s reign.
A police probe into the suspected poisoning of patients on the stroke unit continues, as does a murder investigation, while Mr McGee has had to oversee an action plan drawn up after the regulator Care Quality Commission (CQC) criticised the quality of care and rated the Vic ‘requires improvement’.
Other top jobs have been filled by fresh faces recently, including Kevin Moynes who became joint director of human resources – in a joint post with East Lancashire – late last year.
Dr Grahame Goode replaced Prof. Mark O’Donnell as medical director in the summer, while Peter Murphy replaced Marie Thompson as director of nursing and quality earlier this year.
Pat Oliver’s role as director of operations has been filled by Berenice Groves (urgent and emergency care) and Janet Barnsley (planned care), both on an interim basis since last June and April respectively.
Chairman Pearse Butler also replaced Ian Johnson early last year.