The chief executive of a Sussex acute trust is to leave at the end of the month without working out her notice.

Kim Hodgson, who has been in post at East Sussex Hospitals Trust for the past five years, announced at the start of this month that she was leaving the trust on 31 March.

I have dedicated 30 years to the NHS and it’s now time to hand over the trust to others

NHS Brighton and Hove chief executive Darren Grayson will temporarily take over as interim chief executive at the trust until a permanent successor is appointed. He will join the trust on 22 March and take over Ms Hodgson’s duties from 1 April.

The acute trust said in a statement that Ms Hodgson would not be fully working out her notice but was not being “paid off”, as she was leaving with no more than her contractual entitlement.

Ms Hodgson said: “There are critical moments for everybody when they evaluate where their life is going, I have dedicated 30 years to the NHS and it’s now time to hand over the trust to others. It has not been an easy decision.”

Ms Hodgson, who was named Manager of the Year at the National Health and Social Care Awards in 2004, took over the trust when it had severe financial problems and had been investigated by the Healthcare Commission over bullying allegations.

The trust is currently working with its primary care trusts on how to maintain its two hospital sites in future, after attempts by NHS South East Coast to centralise services were thrown out by the Independent Reconfiguration Panel in 2008.

NHS Brighton and Hove deputy chief executive Amanda Fadero will take on Mr Grayson’s duties in his absence.