A GROUP of trade unions are 'appalled' at the appointment of Sir David Nicholson as the new boss of the county's major hospitals.

Mr Nicholson stepped down as the head of NHS England after he was held responsible for failing to act over the Mid Staffs scandal, which claimed 1,400 lives.

However he has now been hired as the part-time chairman of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust and is reportedly being paid £40,000 per year.

Mike Cross, communications officer for Worcester Trades Union Council, said: "All supporters of our beloved NHS will be appalled at the appointment of Sir David Nicholson as chairman of Worcestershire Acute Health Trust.

"Trade unionists have learned many times over that deeds not words are what count.

"This man made the cold and calculated decision to prioritise financial targets over patient safety and ignore the pleas of concerned relatives, a decision that led to the scandal of Mid Staffordshire Hospital."

When asked how many days Mr Nicholson will be working per month, a spokesman for NHS Improvement said: "Chairs differ from employees in that they do not have fixed contractual hours.

"Fulfilling the obligations of this role will require a considerable amount of Sir David’s time and energy, especially given the scale of the financial and operational challenge at the trust.

"We will work closely with him and the rest of the trust leadership team to support and monitor progress in the coming weeks and months."

A spokesman for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust reiterated that Mr Nicholson's knowledge of the issues facing the health service will help to improve hospitals in the county.

The Worcester News has requested an interview with Mr Nicholson.