The chief executive of the debt-ridden Hinchingbrooke Health Care trust in Huntingdon has resigned, saying his abrupt departure is 'in the best interests of the trust'.

The chief executive of the debt-ridden Hinchingbrooke Health Care trust in Huntingdon has resigned, saying his abrupt departure is 'in the best interests of the trust'.

Douglas Pattisson, who has led the trust for the last six years, resigned two weeks ago just as the board received a KPMG report projecting a deficit of£23m.

However, a spokesperson for the trust denied that the resignation and the KPMG report were linked.

The trust called in auditors KPMG to help develop a financial recovery plan earlier this year. An already difficult position was set to worsen with the loss of 21 per cent of the trust's income as commissioners moved patient care out of the hospital and into the community.

The KPMG plan presented to the board indicates that the trust can save£4.3m this year, rising to£7.4m next year through a combination of reducing non-pay spending, staffing reviews and budget setting.

In a statement, Mr Pattisson said: 'I have decided to step down as chief executive and will leave the trust on 22 September. This has been a difficult decision, but I believe it is in the best interests of the trust.'

Pearse Butler, interim chief executive of East of England strategic health authority, said: 'The scale of the challenge facing the trust is considerable and needs to be resolved as a matter of real urgency.'

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