THE second acting chief executive in almost as many months has been appointed to a crisis-hit hospital trust.

Richard Beeken has been appointed as acting chief executive of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust – just two months since his predecessor, Rob Cooper, took on the role.

He is the trust's third temporary chief executive since December, following the resignation of Chris Tidman, who had been interim chief executive for 20-months.

In December, the trust – which manages Kidderminster Hospital and Treatment Centre, Redditch's Alexandra Hospital and Worcestershire Royal Hospital – announced it had appointed Michelle McKay as its new, permanent chief executive.

Caragh Merrick, trust chairman, said: "Rob Cooper, our current acting chief executive, has been approached to take up a senior NHS finance position in the north of England near to where he lives.

"I would personally like to thank Rob on behalf of the whole trust for his major contribution as director of finance – in successfully regaining financial control and also significantly reducing the trust’s financial deficit, and in addition also stepping up to the plate at very short notice to cover the acting chief executive position over the last couple of months, at what is a very difficult time for the trust.

"Richard Beeken, regional delivery and improvement director for NHS Improvement, will be taking over as acting chief executive until Michelle McKay, our permanent new chief executive arrives in March."

Mrs McKay, an Australian health expert, will start on Friday, March 27.

Earlier this month, we reported how the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust received a section 29A warning notice from independent regulator the Care Quality Commission, warning them they must improve standards of patient care by March 10 or a special administrator could be brought in.

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust was placed in special measures in December 2015 after watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) raised serious concerns over quality and patient care.