WORKFORCE Privately-run Hinchingbrooke Health Care Trust’s chief executive officer Jim O’Connell is taking early retirement, the trust has announced.

The trust’s clinical chairman Hisham Abdel-Rahman will become interim chief executive with immediate effect, while Circle, the private company running the trust, reviews its management structure.

A Circle spokesman told HSJ the move meant the board had one less senior manager although its future shape was subject to review.    

He added: “We want to make [Hinchingbrooke] a more integrated and lean operation. 

“[Mr O’Connell’s retirement] will take cost out but this was not the primary motivation and we would not have taken the approach if Jim was not retiring.  

“Jim will take on a business development role which will be project-based for the coming months and he will retire later on this year.”

Mr O’Connell, who has spent 24 years in the NHS and is 50 this year, has been in charge of the trust since Circle began running the district general hospital last year.

Circle chief executive Steve Melton said: “I would sincerely like to thank Jim for all of his hard work during his time with the trust. 

“Our commitment to clinical leadership is clear and unambiguous.

“With this in mind, Hisham Abdel-Rahman, who has been a doctor at Hinchingbrooke for the last 12 years, will build on his role as clinical chairman for the trust to lead our team as interim CEO.

“I can think of no-one better placed to take on this role and to lead us through our exciting and challenging next stage of development as we strive to become a top ten district general hospital.”

The trust has historic financial difficulties and ended last financial year with a £3.7m deficit.