WORKFORCE: Ian Cumming has decided not to take up the post of chief executive at North Bristol Trust in order to continue with his roll as national director for quality during the transition full time.

Mr Cumming was due to join the trust in April when existing chief executive Ruth Brunt retires. In a statement he said he “deeply” regrettted any disruption his decision will cause North Bristol but felt it would be wrong to leave his existing role at this “crucial point” in the transition.

In a statement trust chairman Peter Rilett said the trust was “considering its options” but remained committed to achieving foundation trust status by the end of the year.

Mr Cumming said: “When I accepted the appointment at Bristol in November 2011, I believed I could pursue my own career in the acute sector, whilst also fulfilling a national responsibility to aim to ensure that the quality of care does not suffer during transition, by continuing to devote one-day-a week to leading the National Quality Team.

“Following conversations with Sir Bruce Keogh and Sir David Nicholson about the objectives for the NQT in 12-13, the scale of the national task has become more apparent to me and it is clear that in this year of transition, the work load for the National Quality Team is set to increase, at a time when I was planning to reduce my leadership and input.  I am all too aware that the evidence shows that the risk to quality increases with every point of handover, and therefore find it increasingly difficult to justify the introduction of yet another handover point, which my departure would inevitably warrant.

“I have been greatly affected by my experience of taking over as chief executive of the West Midlands SHA shortly after the scandal of Mid Staffordshire was exposed. Having personally given evidence to the public inquiry and listened to the experiences of patients and their families, I feel in all conscience that it would be wrong for me to leave my full time position at this crucial point in time. I have therefore agreed with Sir David Nicholson and Sir Bruce Keogh that I will continue in my full time role until the Summer of 2013.”