MICHELLE McKay, the chief executive of the Trust which runs the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, Kidderminster and Worcestershire Royal Hospital has announced that she is moving to a new post in her native Australia later this year.
Her move follows the offer of what she describes as her ‘dream job’ leading the role of leading Top End Health Services, an integrated health service covering half of the Northern Territory of Australia.
Her appointment to the top job at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, in March 2017 hit the national headlines when it was found relocation expenses of up to £20,000 were offered to bring her from Australia to Worcester.
At the time she said she was in the job ‘for the long haul’.
Back then a spokesperson for WAHT said: “Attracting world-class applicants is something we are extremely proud of and the people of Worcestershire will welcome our move to install a permanent leadership team to the trust, something that has been lacking for a number of years.
“There is a financial cost to attracting candidates such as this and it is only right and proper that they are remunerated fairly and out-of-pocket relocation expenses are reimbursed.”
Fifteen months later she is moving on, however the Trust says she will remain in Worcestershire until mid-December.
Her departure comes months the resignation of Caragh Merrick as chairman and the appointment of Sir David Nicholson to replace her.
It also comes just days after WAHT announced the appointment of Dame Julie Moore, former CEO of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust, to its board of directors.
Mrs McKay announced her departure to the Trust’s 6,000 staff this morning (August 31) telling them: “It’s with a mixture of sadness and delight that I have to tell you I will be leaving the Trust for good later this year.
“Sadness because I have enjoyed my time here enormously and because I am sure that, as a result of your hard work and determination, a much more positive future is now within our grasp, despite the many challenges we still face.
“Delight because I have been offered an opportunity to take on what is probably the only job that would have tempted me away from here.”
Trust Chairman Sir David Nicholson said “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Michelle for her unfaltering focus on the safety and quality of patient care, outstanding commitment to improving the quality of our hospital services, compassionate and visionary leadership and many significant successes in tackling the Trust’s long-standing challenges.
“I understand her reasons for not wanting to turn this wonderful new opportunity down, but she will be a hard act to follow.
“Michelle will remain with us until mid-December, during which time we will be working hard to find a permanent replacement for her, to ensure we have a stable leadership team to take us on the next stage of our journey.”
The organisation Mrs McKay is joining, Top End Health Services, has four hospitals and numerous clinics, many located in some of the most remote areas of the country.
The role provides an opportunity to influence outcomes in the health of the indigenous population, an area that she worked in extensively prior to moving to the UK.
Redditch MP Rachel Maclean said: “First of all, I would like to send my best wishes to Michelle and to thank her for all that she has done for the Trust since her appointment as chief executive in March 2017.
“There have been tangible signs of improvement at the Trust under her leadership and I hope this momentum continues under Michelle’s successor.
“It is now of paramount importance that a successor is appointed as quickly as possible.
“I have already spoken to David Nicholson, chairman of the Acute Trust and the Department for Health and Social Care.
“I understand that the recruitment process is already underway. We need strong leadership to continue Michelle’s good work and I’m confident this can be achieved.”