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‘Methodical and respectful’ CEO appointed by troubled acute trust

Published on: 11 Feb 2022

The second largest trust in the North West has appointed James Sumner as its new chief executive.

Mr Sumner has been CEO of Mid Cheshire Hospitals Trust for the past three years, but will soon join Liverpool University Hospitals Foundation Trust

LUHFT incorporates the Royal Liverpool and Aintree hospitals and has a turnover of £1.4bn. It has been the subject of serious regulatory concerns over the course of the pandemic.

The trust was issued with a warning notice by the Care Quality Commission over its emergency services last year, while being rated ‘inadequate’ for leadership. Previous CEO Steve Warburton stepped down shortly after these interventions.

In a note to staff this morning, trust chair Sue Musson said: “James brings the necessary leadership skills, track record of achievement and breadth of experience we require.

“He has led a range of organisations – some high performing and some more challenged… He believes that the right culture is fundamental to our future success, whilst recognising this does not happen overnight.

“He is collaborative, methodical and respectful of colleagues’ expertise. Above all, he is committed to enabling equality, diversity and inclusion for all.”

Mr Sumner started his career in primary care in 1999, before moving into acute care in 2005. He held several operational and strategic posts, including deputy chief executive at Stockport FT and chief officer of Salford Royal Hospital, before joining Mid Cheshire Hospitals.

MCHT has been a relatively stable acute trust for several years, both under Mr Sumner and previous chief Tracy Bullock. It has been rated ‘good’ by the CQC since 2014.

Mr Sumner’s start date has yet to be confirmed and Sir David Dalton will continue as interim CEO in the meantime.

The final interviews for the post were held on Tuesday.Earlier this week, Rosie Cooper, MP for West Lancashire, raised concerns about a lack of stakeholder involvement in the recruitment process, which the trust said has been adapted due to covid restrictions.