Two new health bosses have been appointed to run Hertfordshire’s hospitals.

Christine Allen and Phil Townsend have joined West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust as chief executive and interim chairman.

The trust is responsible for Watford General Hospital, Hemel Hempstead Hospital and St Albans City Hospital.

Ms Allen was born in Watford and has more than 30 years NHS experience.

She formerly led the James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for five years and achieved a CQC rating of “good” over three separate inspections.

She was also acting chief executive, chief operating officer and director of strategy for Northampton General Hospital before that.

Ms Allen will take over from Helen Brown who has been acting chief executive for the past eight months. Ms Brown will return to the role of deputy chief executive.

Mr Townsend has assumed the role of interim chairman having been vice chairman for five years. He has also been a non-executive director for eight years.

He has over 30 years experience working with commercial organisations and lives in St Albans.

Mr Townsend succeeds professor Steve Barnett after three-and-a-half years of service. Mr Barnett will now be chairman of Queen Elizabeth Hospital Kings Lynn NHS Trust.

Ms Allen said: "I’m delighted to be joining the strong leadership team at West Herts, particularly at such an exciting time. In the past week alone the trust has seen brilliant staff survey results, huge improvements in the CQC rating for the emergency department and is amongst the top five most improved trusts for staff flu vaccinations in the country.

“I am really looking forward to leading the organisation on its improvement journey and in securing the best possible outcome for the hospital redevelopment plans.”