Northern Ireland

William McKee to step down from senior health job

William McKee
Image caption William McKee will retire from his post as Chief Executive in the Autumn

The Chief Executive of Belfast Trust is due to retire in the Autumn, BBC News looks back at his career.

William McKee was born in 1952 in Belfast. He was educated at Queen's University in Belfast and received an MBA from the University of Ulster.

Throughout his career in the health service he has held a number of senior positions at hospitals in Northern Ireland, including Musgrave Park and Daisy Hill.

In 2006, he received Commander Of The British Empire (CBE) for service to the NHS in Northern Ireland.

Mr McKee was chief executive of The Royal Hospitals from 1992 until 2006 - when he left to take up the position as chief executive of the Belfast Trust.

It was established in April 2007 following the merger of six Belfast Trusts.

Belfast Health and Social Care Trust is the largest trust in the UK, employing 22,000 people with an annual budget in excess of £1bn.

Mr McKee is responsible for staff, revenue and the services that the trust delivers to a population of 340,000.

Last September, health union officials threatened industrial action when the trust announced plans to cut 152 beds at two hospitals in the city. The proposed cuts did not in the end go ahead.

A month later, Mr McKee said cuts in frontline patient services could not be avoided.

He made his comment after it was announced the trust had to make 9% efficiency savings over three years, which would amount to £93m.

Funding

He said that even firing everyone in administration would not achieve this.

Out of all the Stormont departments, health receives the biggest amount of funding.

As a result, it is expected it will have to find the biggest savings following Monday's announcement that Northern Ireland will have to find £128m of savings as part of wider plans to address the UK's national debt.

On Tuesday, the health minister Michael McGimpsey presented his plans to the health committee at the Northern Ireland Assembly.

He outlined his spending plans for the year ahead, with cuts not as severe as first feared.

Although he is planning 2% savings on staffing costs there will be no compulsory redundancies.