WORKFORCE: Scilla Smith has announced her decision to step down as chair of Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust in order to aid its bid to attain foundation status.

Ms Smith will stand down once an acting chair is in post, sometime after the end of September, the trust has announced.

She has held the position for the past nine years, which is the time limit suggested by Monitor in its guidance on becoming a foundation trust.

Ms Smith said: “The Monitor compliance framework includes a section on the independence of the chair and non-executive directors. It states that nine years is the limit for independence.

“I am now in my ninth year as chairman and therefore I feel it is in the best interest of the trust to have a chair who can lead the trust through to a successful conclusion of this process.”

A trust statement said that, during her tenure as chair, Ms Smith had overseen the official openings of several key developments, including the Queen’s Centre for Oncology and Haematology and the Centre for Cardiology and Cardiothoracic Surgery.

She had also taken a proactive stance in the promotion of privacy and dignity issues, establishing a dignity forum for all staff to attend, and had been a tireless anti-smoking campaigner, implementing a trust wide smoking ban across all buildings and grounds.

Trust chief executive Phil Morley said: “Scilla has made a brave decision based on the best interests of this trust, which she has always put first. I know Scilla will be missed by many people at the trust and I would like to personally thank her for all of her efforts during her time as my chair.”