THE new chief executive of East Lancashire’s hospitals looks set to be Kevin McGee, who has driven major improvements at a troubled NHS trust in the Midlands.

Three candidates were interviewed for the top job at the Royal Blackburn and Burnley General hospitals last week, and bosses have seemingly offered the post to Mr McGee, the CEO at George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust in Nuneaton.

An email sent to staff this week, seen by the Lancashire Telegraph, said: “References are being taken up and discussions are continuing with one of the candidates, Mr Kevin McGee, in the hope that a firm appointment can be made in the near future.

However, due to holidays and other personal commitments, these discussions cannot continue until later this month.”

If the appointment is confirmed, the 52-year-old would take over later this year from the respected interim chief Jim Birrell, who arrived in January to lead East Lancashire Hospitals Trust (ELHT) out of special measures.


Despite also being in special measures, the George Eliot trust’s problems began several years before Mr McGee took over in 2011, and he has been credited with driving significant improvements since then.

Mr McGee, a former accountant from the Wirral, was actually poised to take over Bolton NHS Foundation Trust last year, but opted to stay at the George Eliot to implement recommendations made by NHS chief Sir Bruce Keogh after a major inspection.

He and the other candidates were interviewed by directors at ELHT, as well as an external panel which included commissioners and Russ McLean, chairman of the Pennine Lancashire Patient Voices Group.

Mr McLean said: “He was our first choice and the trust seem to have backed what we said. I think he’s everything we need.”