Addenbrooke's Hospital chief executive Keith McNeil resigns

Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge Image copyright PA
Image caption The NHS trust which runs Addenbrooke's Hospital has a deficit of about £1.2m a week

The chief executive of a major NHS hospital has resigned a week before a care watchdog report is published.

Dr Keith McNeil, who was appointed to the job at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge in November 2012, said the hospital faced "serious challenges".

Chief finance officer Paul James has also resigned from the hospital, which is running a deficit of £1.2m a week.

Both have stepped down ahead of a Care Quality Commission report, which is due to be published on 22 September.

Image caption Dr Keith McNeil said the hospital faced "a number of very serious challenges"

Dr McNeil said it had been "a very difficult decision" to step down.

"It is a matter of public record that we face a number of very serious challenges, including a growing financial deficit, and I feel the time is right to have new leadership in place," he said.

"I am pleased our hospitals continue to provide our patients with outcomes that are not only some of the best in the UK, but in Europe."

Financial investigation

In an official statement, neither Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust nor Dr McNeil gave a reason for his resignation.

The trust's finances were being investigated by Monitor after the hospital introduced a £200m computerised patient record system last year and one of its doctors, Myles Bradbury, was convicted for sexually abusing child patients.

Jane Ramsey, chairwoman of the trust, thanked Dr McNeil "for his efforts",

She continues: "He has shown great leadership qualities and has helped the trust to maintain its reputation for high quality care and excellent outcomes for our patients."

Daniel Zeichner, Labour MP for Cambridge, said: "The introduction of the new computer system was troubled and difficult and I suspect that's contributed to their problems, but I think the basic responsibility for this is the [financial] pressure that's been put on the National Health Service by the government.

"The Conservatives promised extra for the health service - we haven't seen it.

"This is not the only chief executive we're going to see taking this action."

The Department of Health has yet to respond to Mr Zeichner's criticism.

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Addenbrooke's, said its director of workforce David Wherrett would become acting chief executive while a permanent replacement was found.

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