THE trust that runs the Royal Bolton Hospital has failed to appoint a new chief executive — because bosses could not find a suitable candidate.

Interviews were held over the last two weeks to find a replacement for Lesley Doherty, who took early retirement from the troubled Bolton NHS Foundation Trust in December.

But no one was offered the job, and the trust’s interim chairman, David Wakefield, said the situation would be looked at again in the summer.

The trust will not immediately be re-advertising the post and Dr Jackie Bene will stay on as the acting chief executive.

Mrs Doherty was paid between £140,000 and £145,000 a year.

Mr Wakefield was appointed by health watchdog Monitor to run the trust after it was pulled up for missing healthcare targets, financial failings and weak board governance.

In a statement to staff, he said: “The nomination and remuneration committee felt that unfortunately the candidates did not have the experience and skills that the trust needs currently and therefore was unable to appoint.”

Dr Bene, a consultant and former medical director, was appointed acting chief executive after Mrs Doherty’s retirement.

Mr Wakefield announced that she would be continuing in the role and that Steve Hodgson would continue as acting medical director. He said: “Jackie has done an excellent job so far and I feel sure will continue to do so going forward.”

At the trust’s board meeting, on Thursday, February 7, Mr Wakefield said Nicky Ingham, the director of Unfortunately the candidates did not have the experience and skills “ DAVID WAKEFIELD workforce, would become acting deputy chief executive until a new chief executive was appointed.

Cllr Andy Morgan, who sits on Bolton Council’s health, overview and scrutiny committee, said the trust needed stability and continuity.

Cllr Morgan said: “The hospital needs strong leadership from the top and if that means Jackie Bene is made chief executive then that needs confirming so we can move forward.

“All this uncertainty only adds to the confusion. What we need is continuity and we can only have that by appointing people who can be there for a long time.

“That includes the chairman.

We need to crack on and appoint a full-time chairman who is not spread between two sites, here and Milton Keynes.”