THE new chief executive of the county's hospitals wants the trust out of special measures and into a 'good' rating within the next five years.

Matthew Hopkins, who was appointed the new chief executive of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust in January, said he was "optimistic" but it was going to take a “three to five year journey” to get the trust out of an 'inadequate' rating and into a "really good" place.

Mr Hopkins, who took over from Michelle McKay who resigned in December 2018 after less than two years in charge, said he wanted to see the trust achieve "at least" a good rating from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in that time.

He said: “To really be confident that our improvements are properly embedded and we have a true culture of patient safety does take time.

Speaking at a meeting of Worcestershire County Council's health and overview scrutiny committee on Tuesday (April 9), Mr Hopkins said he had been in his last two NHS roles for at least four years which showed he had a track record of sticking with jobs.

He said: “Having said that, chief executives in the NHS are a little bit like Premiership football managers, without the pay offs obviously.

"There is sometimes a sense of ‘you’re only as good as your last game'.”

The trust which runs Redditch's Alexandra Hospital has been rated inadequate since December 2015.

Mr Hopkins also said he believed the trust would need between £7 and £8 million pounds extra a year before it could clear its backlog and start hitting some of its targets but was not confident of receiving it.

The trust is not currently meeting its referral to treatment (RTT) targets - which expect 99 per cent of patients to be seen within 18 weeks from GP referral to treatment.

Councillor Peter Tomlinson said: "You have done your homework and order to catch up and reach targets, you have said to the commissioners 'we need seven or eight million pounds.'

"Here we have that classic situation. If you don't get that money, you'll get the blame because your targets will not be up to standard and it will be the fault of those you have no control over, the commissioners."