The chief officer of a south of England clinical commissoning group has been suspended while an internal investigation takes place, it has been confirmed to HSJ.

Joy Youart has been suspended by Kernow CCG, which covers Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

In a statement Iain Chorlton, Kernow’s chairman, told HSJ: “We can confirm that a member of staff has been suspended while an internal investigation takes place.

“This is in line with standard procedure and does not imply any wrongdoing.

“Our work continues as normal and patient care is unaffected.

“We have informed NHS England, who we are accountable to.

“We won’t be making any further comment until the investigation has been completed.”

In a statement Withers LLP, which is acting for Ms Yoart, said: “Ms Youart has not yet had the opportunity to discuss fully or consider the internal investigation and is disappointed to be suspended from the valuable work that she does at Kernow CCG.

”She is pleased to note however, that Kernow CCG has confirmed that the suspension does not imply any wrongdoing.”

The reasons for the investigation, or the nature of it, are not clear.

Kernow was placed under legal directions by NHS England in December after it emerged that it was heading for a £14m deficit in 2015-16 – having originally forecast a surplus of £0.5m. When the CCG reported its forecast deficit this month, it stood at £16m.

Under the NHS England conditions Kernow was required to produce a “credible” financial recovery plan, showing how it will operate within its annual budget for 2016-17 and how it will remain in financial balance in the following years. It was also required to commission a “capability and capacity review”, which Price Waterhouse Cooper has been appointed to undertake.

NHS England appointed Ian Tipney, the former chief executive of Somerset Primary Care Trust, as an interim turnaround director at the CCG, also in December.