THE search is on for the Royal Bolton Hospital’s next boss — and the right candidate could receive a salary of up to £200,000 a year.

The Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, is looking for an “inspirational leader” to take on the role of chief executive, according to an advert on the NHS Jobs website.

Jackie Bene has been acting chief executive after Kevin McGee announced he would not be taking over at the last minute.

Mr McGee is chief executive of Nuneaton’s George Eliot Hospital and decided to remain his existing post after it was announced the trust’s services would be franchised.

The appointment of a permanent chief will mark the end of a turbulent 12 months for the trust, which has been dogged by investigations into patient coding, A&E performance and the hospital’s finances.

Heather Edwards, head of communications at the trust, said: “As planned, we are now advertising for the chief executive post and hope to make an appointment early in the new year.”

The pay bracket for the post will be between £140,000 and £200,000, depending on experience.

Former chief executive Lesley Doherty, who took early retirement in 2012, earned between £140,000 and £145,000 a year. It is not known whether Dr Bene will apply for the job but there is thought to be widespread support for the acting chief executive.


Harry Hanley, secretary of Staff Side at the Royal Bolton, said: “I hope Jackie Bene has applied because I think she is the right person for the job.

“We know she’s passionate about the trust and the NHS. Perhaps she is a little inexperienced as a chief executive but I know people have got a lot of respect for her at the hospital.

“I definitely think Bolton has reputation for being a challenging trust and whoever gets the job, it’s going to take a special kind of person to take it on.”

The job specification states the right candidate faces the challenge of improving the quality of care while responding to the “significant” issues posed by restricted finances.

Andy Morgan, who sits on the health scrutiny committee, said: “The trust has needed someone permanent at the helm for a long time, although I am little surprised at the level of the remuneration package as this is more than the Prime Minister gets to run the country.”

Dr Bene stepped down as acting chief executive in February to allow an independent investigation of coding, after health research group Dr Foster found “significant discrepancies” in data.

She returned as medical director — a position she has held for several years — after interim findings from a second investigation, into clinical coding, showed that there had been no manipulation of data.

She later stepped in again as acting chief executive when Mr McGee turned down the job in July.

Dr Bene has often been described by chairman of the trust, David Wakefield, as a “real star” of the hospital.