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Medical director promoted to chief executive at under-investigation trust

The Countess of Chester Hospital Trust (COCH) has announced that its medical director has been appointed as its new chief executive.

Susan Gilby, the medical director and current acting chief executive, has been named as the new chief executive of the trust and will take up her role on 1 April.

This comes after the resignation of the former chief executive in September in the midst of an ongoing police investigation into the deaths of eight babies at its neonatal unit.

Tony Chambers opted to step down from the top job at the acute hospital trust after six years, saying his time at the trust had been a “huge privilege” but that “recent times have been particularly challenging for the hospital.”

A nurse was arrested at the Countess of Chester Hospital in July on suspicion of murdering eight babies and attempting to murder a further six and later released on bail, with Chester Police investigating the deaths in May last year.

The incoming chief executive, Gilby, worked at the hospital during her specialist training and her youngest son was also born there.

She has previously worked as medical director of Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS FT, Wye Valley NHS Trust, and as the associate medical director at Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS FT.

Gilby said: “The Countess of Chester Hospital has a strong reputation for providing the community it serves with high quality services and for the skills and dedication of its staff.

“I am delighted to have been appointed as the chief executive and am looking forward to working with the board, the governors, our staff and partners to build on our strengths to ensure a sustainable future for the services that our population require and working as a team in facing our challenges.”

Gilby joined the COCH trust in May last year, and has worked as the medical director and then as interim chief executive before now being offered the job on a permanent basis.

The trust’s chairman, Sir Duncan Nichol, commented: “We have been very fortunate to appoint Dr Susan Gilby as our new chief executive officer.

“The hospital and our health and care partners will be the stronger for having attracted such an outstanding medical leader and for me this fulfils a long-standing personal ambition.

“During her time as acting CEO, we have seen the leadership qualities Susan will bring and the confidence that she has already inspired. Above all we know that she will put the interests of our patients and our community first and foremost.”


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