Ray Pett, chief executive of Barts and the London trust, has announced that he is to retire early. Mr Pett (pictured) said he had intended to 'stay on for another year or so' but did not feel fully recovered from two operations and an infection last year. He also argued that with a private finance initiative project to steer through and a 'daunting agenda' to implement the NHS plan, 'it is time for a new hand on the tiller. 'Mr Pett served in the Army for 37 years, reaching the rank of major general. He joined the trust in 1996 as capital developments director.

Deputy chief executive and chief nurse Jonathan Asbridge will become acting chief executive until a new appointment is made.