WORKFORCE: Bill Shields, interim chief executive of Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust, has said he will step down at the end of the month for ‘personal and family reasons’.

The South West trust has been criticised by the Care Quality Commission over its staffing arrangements and management of patient flow.

Mr Shields joined Royal Cornwall in December from Imperial College Healthcare Trust, where he was chief financial officer.

Bill Shields

Bill Shields joined Royal Cornwall in December

His decision to leave was announced to staff this week in an email from trust chair Jon Andrewes.

The email said Mr Shields had “decided for personal and family reasons that he cannot commit to the organisation for the time period we need, and therefore he will not apply for the permanent chief executive position”.

He will leave at the end of this month. Andrew MacCallum, Royal Cornwall’s nurse executive, will be acting chief executive until a permanent replacement is appointed.

Dr Andrewes said the trust had “started work to find a new outstanding chief executive to lead our organisation for the next 3-5 years”.

“My priority is to create a stable, united and strong trust board of directors to support you,” he said.

Last month the CQC published a report based on an unannounced inspection of Royal Cornwall in June, which rated safety in medical care and the accident and emergency department as “inadequate”.

The regulator said the trust was struggling to manage the flow of patients through the hospital and did not have enough experienced nurses on duty to cope with demand.

It issued the trust with a warning notice requiring it to take immediate action to rectify the situation.

Mr Shields’ departure will add to an already large outflow of senior managers from Royal Cornwall this month. The trust’s HR director, company secretary, interim chief operating officer and interim director of financial recovery are all set to leave.