Published: 22/07/2004, Volume II4, No. 5915 Page 8

The jobs of head of the Scottish Executive Health Department and chief executive of NHS Scotland should be split because the job is so difficult, senior Scottish health figures have said.

NHS Scotland chief executive Trevor Jones has announced he is leaving to become chief executive of Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire strategic health authority, a job previously held by Geoff Scaife, also a chief executive of NHS Scotland.

And Institute of Healthcare Management Scotland secretary Donald McNeill is among senior healthcare figures who have called for the current post to be reviewed and split into two positions, one heading the SEHD and one as chief executive of NHS Scotland.

He said: 'As well as the operational side of running a service with a budget of£8bn and 135,000 staff, the post involves responsibility for policy and strategy. It is practically impossible to find anybody who fits the human resources profile for all these elements.'