HEALTH watchdog Sir Bill Taylor said he was ‘baffled’ by the appointment of Professor Eileen Fairhurst as the new chairman of East Lancashire’s hospital trust.

Professor Fairhurst, formerly of NHS Greater Manchester, was appointed last week by the London-based NHS Trust Development Authority (TDA), which has been overseeing improvements at the Royal Blackburn and Burnley General hospitals.

She lives in Manchester and is also sociologist and professor in public health at the University of Salford.

Sir Bill, chairman of Blackburn with Darwen Healthwatch, said: “It does baffle me that the NHS and the hospital continues to bring in people from outside, when the general view is that we need people from and of our local communities here across East Lancashire.

“Might knowing us and having a local track record be more important than being of the NHS culture?

“But I look forward to meeting up with Professor Fairhurst again.”