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Top CEO leaves to run Gibraltar health system

Published on: 12 Jul 2023

A leading trust chief executive has announced he is stepping down from the NHS and has accepted a three-year role with Gibraltar Health Authority.

Kevin McGee, who has led three acute trusts in Lancashire over the past decade, told HSJ he had been planning to retire from full-time work, but was then tempted by the role of director general for healthcare in the British Overseas Territory.

Mr McGee, who is 62, has been CEO of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals since September 2021. He had previously led both Blackpool Teaching Hospitals and East Lancashire Hospitals.

He is credited with turning the latter from a failing provider in special measures into one of the best-regarded trusts in the North West.

Mr McGee is also the lead CEO for the acute provider collaboration in Lancashire and South Cumbria.

LTH recently had confirmation from the government that it would be allocated sufficient funding to completely rebuild Royal Preston Hospital on a new site south of the city. This should enable a much-needed consolidation of emergency services with Chorley and South Ribble Hospital.

Mr McGee said: “I’ve been talking for a few months now with our chairman about retiring, and it was feeling like the right time now that the new hospital plan is sorted for Lancs Teaching. That’s going to be a long-running project and will need someone who’s going to be in place for the next five years, and that wasn’t going to be me.

“Then this role came up. As a chief executive you get contacted by recruiters regularly, and I’d genuinely never been interested in any of it. But this was such a different type of role and lifestyle that it looked interesting.”

He has accepted a fixed-term contract of three years with GHA, which is an integrated system that provides acute, primary and mental health services to a population of around 30,000. It runs one small acute hospital with a model closely aligned to the NHS.

Mr McGee, who was awarded an OBE in 2021 and has regularly featured among HSJ’s top 50 CEOs, said he still hoped to be involved in the NHS in the future, in the form of non-executive roles.

David Flory, who chairs the integrated care system for Lancashire and South Cumbria, said in a statement: “Having known and worked with Kevin for many years, I believe he ranks amongst the top chief executives in terms of his knowledge, vision and commitment to the communities he serves and is a very well respected leader within the NHS community. He will be leaving behind a strong legacy in Lancashire and South Cumbria.”

Paul O’Neill, LTH’s acting chair, said Mr McGee had been a “fabulous” chief executive.

Mr McGee, who also previously led George Eliot Hospital in Warwickshire and has worked in the NHS for 38 years, said in a statement: “I am exceptionally pleased that funding has now been secured for new hospitals for Preston and Lancaster as part of the new hospitals programme. Reaching this important milestone is an ideal time to pass the baton on to someone who can commit the next five years or so to bringing these exciting plans to fruition.

“I would like to thank all staff at my own trust and within the surrounding system, as well as our partners and communities, for their unwavering support of both me personally and their local NHS.”

It is unclear at the moment how long his notice period at LTH will be.