Financially-stricken Kingston Hospital has appointed an interim chief executive to take over from Kate Grimes, who has taken a period of sick leave.

Stand-in boss Ann Radmore was charged with restructuring hospitals under the 2010 Healthcare for South-west London programme, seen at the time as a potential threat to Kingston Hospital's maternity and accident and emergency unit.

She said: "I have previously worked closely with [Kingston] during my time as chief executive of NHS South West London.

"I am particularly looking forward to getting out and about in the hospital to meet the staff and patients and learn more about the organisation."

Ms Grimes has temporarily vacated the top spot as health regulator Monitor begins an investigation into 'excessive' A&E waiting times and a looming £8.8m financial deficit.

She had repeatedly warned of the dangers of "extreme pressure" from budget cuts saying in March: "It is clear that we cannot do more to close this gap without having an impact on the quality of patient care".

The maternity department was "significantly under-funded", she added during a visit by then-Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg.

In 2013 she said: "We will continue to deliver our financial obligations until we’ve reached the point at which we don’t believe we can deliver the kind of quality we’d be happy to provide and at that point we will be moving into financial deficit."

Mrs Radmore has also run London Ambulance Service (LAS) before leaving in January this year to become the national programme director of the Better Care Fund, after Parliamentary questioning of the ambulance's 999 performance.

She also contributed to the 2013 investigation of Croydon primary care trust's £22m funding "black hole".

Kingston Hospital chairman Sian Bates, who was previously chairman of NHS South West London where she worked with Mrs Radmore, said: "Ann has a huge wealth of experience across the NHS and will be a great asset.

"Ann and the executive team will lead the work to improve our financial position and continued improvements in our accident and emergency performance and provide assurance to our regulator Monitor."

A letter from Monitor chief executive David Bennett, seen by the Health Service Journal, revealed he had told hospitals across the country to "leave no stone unturned" in making cuts.

He also recommended that "vacancies are filled only where essential" and told bosses to ensure safe staffing guidance, created after the Mid Staffs scandal, was implemented in a "proportionate and appropriate way".