Interim boss will run city hospitals
A new temporary boss of the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust is likely to be named within the next few weeks.
It follows the announcement in May that chief executive Malcolm Lowe-Lauri was leaving after four years in the job.
It is likely to be several months before a permanent replacement is found – news criticised by health campaigners.
Trust officials could not confirm when Mr Lowe-Lauri was due to leave but it is believed it could be by the end of next week.
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A spokesman said: "We are looking for a new chief executive. It is in everyone's interests that we find the right person and this is the most important factor.
"We are using a recruitment consultant and do not have a time scale on when a substantive appointment will be made, it could be some months.
"In the meantime, we will be appointing an interim chief executive who will be named in the next few weeks."
It will be the second time in five years the trust, which runs the city's three hospitals, has had to take on an interim chief executive.
The trust came under fire in 2007 when it employed Derek Smith as interim boss.
It later emerged the trust had paid management consultancy company Durrow £173,750 for Mr Smith, who was in place for just over six months.
Mr Smith was taken on after the then chief executive Peter Reading left.
Mr Reading was said to have taken early retirement after the collapse of a £711 million private finance initiative scheme called Pathway, which was to transform the three hospital sites.
Zuffar Haq, a spokesman for watchdog group the Leicester Mercury Patients' Panel, said: "I had hoped that the trust would have had a more substantial plan to recruit a chief executive. Leicester's hospitals cannot survive without strong leadership from the top.
"We need a chief executive in place as soon as possible.
"There are a number of pressing issues that need to be resolved such as accident and emergency and maternity services.
"It is a pity that the trust is having to spend money on an interim solution.
"It is more money being taken away from patient care which is already limited."
When his departure was announced, Mr Lowe-Lauri said: "I feel that it is the right moment for me to look to other avenues.
"Leaving a trust like Leicester at any time was never going to be an easy decision but having got over the line on what has been a difficult year financially, this feels like the right moment."
He said: "Naturally, some people will want to speculate about my plans.
"At this stage, I'm unable to go into detail but I will confirm them in due course."