Published: 27/06/2002, Volume II2, No. 5811 Page 5

East and North Hertfordshire trust is to go out to franchise to find a new chief executive following a critical review by the Commission for Health Improvement on top of its no-star rating.

Chief executive Maggie Donovan is to leave the trust and 'another job will be found for her in the NHS', a trust spokesperson said, stressing that Ms Donovan had neither resigned nor been sacked.

NHS chief executive Nigel Crisp said that 'staff have worked hard in the last nine months to try to improve the trust's performance but there remain areas where significant improvement is still needed'.

Until the franchise is awarded, Graham Smith, director of performance improvement for West Midlands regional office and a former chief executive of City Hospital trust in Birmingham, will become interim chief executive of the trust.

No-star University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire trust has announced its new chief executive under franchise.

David Roberts - currently acting chief executive of Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals trust - is to take over from beleaguered chief executive David Loughton, who had already announced his intention to resign.

Six local MPs called for Mr Loughton's resignation following a damning CHI review last September. That highlighted a breakdown in relations between senior managers and staff.

Mr Loughton also faced opposition from 81 of his own consultants, who signed a petition calling for his head.

The decision to franchise the post followed a second CHI review, that highlighted improvements but failed to give the trust a clean bill of health.