THE long-serving chief executive of Warrington and Halton Hospitals is to leave to take up a new position.

Mel Pickup has accepted the job heading up Bradford Teaching Hospitals and social care system.

The trust’s chairman Steve McGuirk expressed his thanks and appreciation on behalf of 4,400 staff.

He said: “Mel has been at the helm for the past eight years and during that time has steered us through to becoming a foundation trust and then through the monumental changes brought about by the health and social care act of 2012.

“During this time she has been a highly motivated, focused and energetic chief executive with a strong track record of achievement.

“She leaves a legacy of commitment to and investment in high quality care for our patients.

“She has also launched the extensive programme of work that will take us to a new hospital for Warrington and our proposed hospital and wellbeing campus at Halton.”

Mr McGuirk said the best-ever response and results in the national staff opinion survey were seen this year under Ms Pickup’s encouragement.

“Our recent participation in the procurement exercise for the urgent care centres in Runcorn and Widnes was a strong combined offer with GP colleagues and the community trust.

"She has also led the Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership during the past 18 months,” he added.

Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury said: “I’ve had a constructive working relationship with Mel and I wish her all the best for the future working for the NHS in Bradford.”

The outgoing boss’s departure date is still to be agreed but Professor Simon Constable, currently deputy chief executive, will become acting CEO until a permanent replacement is chosen.