FORMER accountant Kevin McGee has been confirmed as the new chief executive of East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust.

The Lancashire Telegraph revealed earlier this month how Mr McGee, who has driven major improvements at a troubled NHS trust in the Midlands, was set to be appointed after he was the preferred candidate in an interview process.

The 52-year-old will take over later this year from the respected interim chief Jim Birrell, who arrived in January to lead East Lancashire Hospitals Trust (ELHT) out of special measures.

Despite also being in special measures, George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust’s problems began several years before Mr McGee took over in 2011, and he has been credited with making significant improvements since then.

Mr McGee, a former accountant from the Wirral, was actually poised to take over Bolton NHS Foundation Trust last year, but opted to stay at the George Eliot to implement recommendations made by NHS chief Sir Bruce Keogh after a major inspection.

Professor Eileen Fairhurst, chairman of ELHT, said: “This is great news for the trust and marks the beginning of what I hope will be a long period of stability. I together with the rest of the trust board, am looking forward to working with Kevin. He brings a wealth of experience and skill that will benefit our patients, staff and the community of East Lancashire.”