A struggling clinical commissioning group is searching for a new leader after its chief officer announced she would retire next month.

Helen Shields will leave Isle of Wight CCG after nearly five years at the helm. 

She has worked for the NHS on the island for more than 34 years and took charge of the CCG when it was established in 2013. 

Last month, the £210m budget CCG was given legal directions by NHS England.

The CCG, rated “requires improvement” by NHS England last July, is forecasting breaking even financially in 2017-18, however there are “unmitigated risks to the year end position” worth £2.2m.

It is also £1.3m behind its £12.9m savings plan, which is equal to nearly 6 per cent of its income - substantially larger than the ask on most groups.

The directions handed down by NHS England included the CCG developing a clinical and financial sustainability plan by February, and commissioning a capability and capacity review.

A spokesman for the CCG told HSJ that Ms Shields was taking early retirement to be with her husband David Shields, who is retiring from his role as head of podiatry at Isle of Wight Trust.

She began working on the island as a regional finance trainee employed by Wessex Regional Health Authority in 1983, and progressed through various finance roles until she became director of finance and contracting at the Isle of Wight Health Authority – which later became the Isle of Wight Primary Care Trust.

She then led the establishment of the CCG in 2013.

The CCG is looking to recruit an interim chief officer from February, the spokesman said.

Its main provider, the Isle of Wight Trust, is currently in special measures.