A community health council has called on the commissioner for public appointments to investigate the appointment of a trust chair after a major merger.

Sheffield CHC has written to Dame Rennie Fritchie following the announcement that David Stone, chair of Central Sheffield University Hospitals trust, has been appointed chair of the new Sheffield Teaching Hospitals trust formed by his organisation's merger with Northern General Hospitals trust.

The CHC says 'the position was not publicly advertised, and just two candidates were interviewed' although the identity of the second candidate has not been made public. It claims commitments were made during the consultation process that both current trust chairs and chief executives would 'lose their jobs' in the merger, leaving 'new people' to steer the new body.

CHC chief officer Janet Beyleveld said she wrote to public health minister Yvette Cooper, who is responsible for the appointment, to raise concerns over the process. But there has been no response to the CHC's concerns from Ms Cooper.

Trent regional office denies that the rules were flouted, but a spokeswoman admitted that 'particular post' had not specifically been advertised. But all candidates for board posts were interviewed by a panel with an independent member.

The region had 'a database' of people who had gone through this process, most of whom had come forward in response to 'generic national' advertisements.

In this case, the regional chair had 'felt strongly that he wanted some continuity' between the old and new trusts, the spokeswoman said.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said the minister 'did consider' the CHC's concerns before making a decision. 'It is unfortunate that a letter of confirmation to this effect was not sent to the CHC before the appointment was made public, ' she added.