A HOSPITAL boss has paid tribute to NHS staff as he leaves to take up a new role.

Professor David Walker, who has worked for the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust for four years, is moving to Mid and South Essex Hospitals.

In his new role as Chief Medical Officer Prof Walker will oversee an NHS trust which is three times the size of UHMBT with a turnover of £950million.

During his career Prof Walker has worked in a team which responded to natural disasters around the world and helped to set up health protection arrangements for the Olympic Games.

Before starting as medical director with UHMBT he was England's Deputy Chief Medical Officer.

“I’m really going to miss the people here. People make organisations. There are just so many genuinely fantastic people here," he said.

“It has been humbling for me to see how committed people are to providing health care to the local population.

“One of the things I did when I was thinking about taking the job with Morecambe Bay was to sit with a newspaper in Outpatients for the day to get a feel for the place.

“What I saw was genuinely caring and kind people, doctors and nurses going the extra mile for patients despite the negative press that the organization was getting. That compassion was what made me apply for the job. With people like that, you can change anything."

Prof Walker, who is originally from the Midlands, said he hopes his legacy would be the implementation of all of the recommendations from the Kirkup Inquiry into maternity and neonatal services at UHMBT.

“I felt that although there had been a quality disaster in the Kirkup years of 2008 to 2012, it offered a fantastic opportunity because everybody recognised that change was necessary," he said.

“The Kirkup Report was released just after I arrived. One of my key roles was to help to implement the recommendations of the report.

"It was an opportunity to really improve quality on a massive scale."