OXFORD University Hospitals has appointed a new health chief tasked with managing medical staff and ensuring care standards at the county’s major hospitals.

Professor Meghana Pandit was announced as the trust’s new medical director yesterday, however she is not expected to take up the role until January.

Professor Pandit will leave her posts as chief medical officer and deputy chief executive at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW), which earlier this month was told it ‘requires improvement’ by the health watchdog for the second time in three years.

Speaking about her new appointment, professor Pandit, who had served as a registrar at the John Radcliffe and Churchill hospitals in Oxford during her training. said: “I am delighted to be joining the team at OUH.

“I have very happy memories of my time in Oxford and I am really looking forward to using the skills and experience which I have gained during my career to date in my new role as medical director.

“OUH has huge strengths as a centre for research and specialist treatment, as well as providing local hospital services for the people of Oxfordshire, and I am looking forward to working with you all to help meet the needs of the communities which we serve.”

She replaces long serving medical director Tony Bernedt who retired last week.

Dr Clare Dollery, deputy medical director, will serve as acting medical director and responsible officer until January.

One of the main issues the new medical director will be looking to tackle, however, will be staff morale with a recent staff survey revealing almost half of OUH workers would not recommend the trust as a place to work, while earlier this year it was revealed that hundreds of workers had admitted to becoming ill because of work-related stress.

The trust, one of the largest acute trusts in the country with a £1.03billion turnover, is currently rated ‘good’ by the CQC.

Speaking about prof Pandit’s appointment, chief executive Dr Bruno Holthof, said: “Meghana is an outstanding medical leader who will strengthen and enrich the trust board.

“She has a wealth of experience in medical leadership and management which I have no doubt will strengthen our senior management team.”

Prof Pandit has a clinical background in obstetrics and gynaecology.

While at UHCW, she is credited with developing the trust’s clinical strategy and was part of the leadership team that developed a ‘ground-breaking’ partnership with the Virginia Mason Institute, a leading US health organisation, to support improvements in patient care.

The partnership helped the UHCW win the Health Service Journal Patient Safety Team of the Year Award 2018.