THERE is a new woman at the helm of the troubled Bolton NHS Foundation Trust.

Jackie Bene, consultant and former medical director at the Royal Bolton Hospital, has been made acting chief executive following Lesley Doherty’s early retirement.

Dr Bene has not received a pay rise to take up the position. She receives between £45,000 and £50,000 for her role on the board of the trust, and £130,000 to £135,000 for her consultancy role in elderly medicine.

She said she wanted to maintain “continuity” at the trust until a chief executive was appointed and said patient safety was her “number one” priority.

The board, which was criticised by health watchdog Monitor for poor governance, has seen a number of other high profile shake-ups in the past few months.

Dr Bene’s role as medical director has been filled by orthopaedic surgeon and head of division elective care at the Royal Bolton Hospital, Steve Hodgson, who has worked at the trust since 1993.

A new consultant has also been appointed.

The third change sees the removal of the post of director of public assurance, which was held by Beverley Andrew until her early retirement this month.

The post will no longer exist and the workload will be split amongst other directors.

Trust chairman David Wakefield sent an email to staff about the recent changes and said he was “delighted” to announce that Dr Bene would be acting chief executive.

The shake-up follows the intervention of Monitor in August, which criticised the trust’s governance and placed it in “red risk” for financial failings.

Since then, the trust’s financial situation has come under scrutiny.

It has to save £50 million over two years, is more than £11 million in debt, and has had to take out a loan from the Department of Health.

In November, the trust announced 500 jobs would be lost and said they would include compulsory redundancies. Staff are also being downbanded in an effort to save money.

Monitor appointed Mr Wakefield as the interim chairman to replace Cllr Cliff Morris, the leader of Bolton Council. Cllr Morris left his post two months early after serving two four-year terms as chairman.

In September, the director of finance Gary Raphael left his post at the trust by “mutual agreement”. He was temporarily replaced by Wendy Hull, who left the trust in October and the position is now being filled by interim Andy Morris.

The interim chief operations officer Jeremy Tozer, who replaced Andrew Cogan in May, also left the trust in October. He was then replaced by Jon Scott.

A temporary turnaround director, Terry Watson, was appointed in September. This is a new position created as part of a £1 million turnaround package.

There have also been changes to the non-executive board members.

Dr Bene said: “Steve has extensive experience in medical management and I am grateful to him for stepping in to this role.”

Mr Hodgson, who has been head of division elective care at the Trust since 2011, was associate medical director at the Trust between 2008 and 2011.

Interviews for a permanent chief executive will take place in February.