An investigation into allegations of bullying and harassment against East Midlands strategic health authority has been extended until the end of the month.

The independent review, launched by the Department of Health in July, was originally expected to finish by the end of August.

But a Department of Health spokesperson said consultant Neil Goodwin, a former SHA chief executive who is leading the review, had extended the timescale “to enable full participation from all relevant parties”.

The allegations against the SHA were made in July following a row over government targets that led to the departure of United Lincolnshire Hospitals trust chair David Bowles.

Mr Bowles was suspended in July, having told NHS East Midlands and the Appointments Commission that he intended to resign.

Mr Bowles and trust chief executive Gary Walker wrote to NHS chief executive David Nicholson asking him to investigate the behaviour of NHS East Midlands, which Mr Bowles said had “an obsession with targets rather than safety”.

But NHS East Midlands chief executive Dame Barbara Hakin denied allegations of bullying at the time, saying SHA staff had done “everything we can to support the trust and its senior players”.

Mr Nicholson said the focus of the independent review would be on “how the SHA has responded to performance issues at [the trust], in particular the allegations of bullying and harassment”. He added that he intended to make public the findings and his response to them.

Mr Bowles has since been appointed interim managing director of Isle of Anglesey council in Wales. Mr Walker has been on sick leave since late July and is expected to return to the trust in October.