Skip to main content

CEO returns from overseas to lead struggling trust

Published on: 7 Oct 2021

An acute trust struggling with governance issues has appointed a new chief executive from the Australian health system.

Steve Williamson will take charge at Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust in January 2022, after spending four years at the helm of Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service.

Mr Williamson has previously led South Tyneside Foundation Trust and held senior roles at University Hospitals Southampton FT and Portsmouth Hospitals Trust.

In his current role in Queensland, Mr Williamson is responsible for the operation of 12 hospitals, public health and mental health services across a region roughly the size of England – albeit with a much smaller population.

RCHT said its patch has “similar” health inequality issues to the Australian region and cited Mr Williamson’s efforts to develop a regional medical school programme and expand hospital and health services across Queensland among his achievements.

Mr Williamson, who will replace interim CEO Tony Chambers, said: “I have significant experience in delivering rural and regional hospital and healthcare and I think this, together with my NHS experience, will translate really well.”

RCHT chair Mairi McLean said Mr Williamson would bring “valuable senior leadership and operational management experience from both the UK and overseas”.

The trust is currently subject to a form of regulatory action – known as “voluntary undertakings” – from NHS England after the regulator said there were “reasonable grounds to suspect” RCHT managers abused their positions and acted in their own interest.

The trust also had to take “remedial action” over inappropriate payments to board membersHSJ revealed last May.