Northern Ireland

Dr Michael McBride new head of Belfast Health Trust

Dr Michael McBride Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Dr Michael McBride will combine the role with his job as chief medical officer

Dr Michael McBride has been appointed the new chief executive of Belfast Health Trust.

Dr McBride will combine his new role with his current position as chief medical officer.

A former medical director at Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital, he will take up his role at the trust on a temporary basis from 8 December.

Announcing his appointment, the health minister described Dr McBride as a natural leader and gifted strategist.

"He has been at the forefront of medicine in Northern Ireland for two decades both as an accomplished physician and a highly respected government advisor," Jim Wells said.

"He possesses all the skills and the wealth of experience required to lead Northern Ireland's largest provider of health and social care services."

The previous chief executive of the trust, Colm Donaghy, resigned in March of this year to become chief executive of Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

In July, Bill Maher, the chief executive of the West/North West Hospitals Group in the Republic of Ireland, was offered the top job in the Belfast Trust but turned it down.

BBC health correspondent Marie Louise Connolly said combining the role of leading the trust with his duties as chief medical officer was "highly unusual".

"One source told the BBC how the man involved in making policy will be able to carry out implementing it within the Belfast Health trust," she said.

Among Dr McBride's responsibilities as chief executive will be to improve unscheduled care services and elective care, as well as leading the development of a new 10-year strategy for the trust.

"Part of my role as chief medical officer is to co-chair the Unscheduled Care Task Group which was set up to address issues with hospital flow which adversely affect waiting times in our emergency departments," Dr McBride said.

"My position in Belfast now allows me to adopt a hands-on approach to implementing these remedial measures."

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