A TROUBLED hospitals trust will spend up to £20,000 in relocation costs for its new chief executive, who is moving from Australia.

According to The Sun newspaper, Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has set aside up the sum for Michelle McKay, who takes over from acting chief executive Rob Cooper in March.

The experienced health expert will move to Worcestershire with her husband to take on the role.

The trust, which is currently in special measures, declined to confirm the exact relocation cost, but said it was “only right and proper” that Mrs McKay was “remunerated fairly”.

Earlier this month two patients died on trollies while waiting for treatment at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

A spokesman said: “We can confirm that following a rigorous and transparent recruitment process we offered the post of chief executive to Michelle McKay.

“Michelle was appointed to bring strong leadership and she has huge experience of turning and managing complex health systems.

“Attracting world class applicants is something we are extremely proud of and the people of Worcestershire will welcome our move to install a permanent leadership team to the trust, something that has been lacking for a number of years.

“This was something that was also recognised by the Care Quality Commission in their latest inspection.

“There is a financial cost to attracting candidates such as this and it is only right and proper that they are remunerated fairly and out of pocket relocation expenses are reimbursed.

“On the salary package we are not commenting other than to say it is in keeping with other NHS chief executive salaries and has been approved and signed off outside of the trust.”

Speaking at the time of her appointment, Mrs McKay said: “I am delighted to have been appointed to this role and have already been encouraged by the enthusiasm and support of the people I have met. Worcestershire deserves great health services and I look forward to working with the staff and our stakeholders to drive forward an improvement programme to deliver the very best acute hospital care possible.”

Chris Tidman has been interim chief executive for the past 20 months.