WORKFORCE: Plymouth Hospitals Trust medical director Alex Mayor is leaving the trust to take up a role with the South West Academic Health Science Network, HSJ has learned.

He has been medical director for more than five years and has held senior clinical positions at the trust for a number of years after joining as a consultant paediatric anaesthetist in 2003.

In a message to trust staff obtained by HSJ, chief executive Ann James said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Alex for his long and committed service to our patients and staff, for his contribution as both lead for clinical governance and medical director and wish him well in his new role. He will leave us at the end of July.”

She said the post will be advertised soon but consultant radiologist and care group director Phil Hughes.

HSJ understands his departure was not linked to a recent Care Quality Commission inspection at the trust, which was issued with a warning notice after concerns that theatres at Derriford Hospital were under too much pressure.

Inspectors visited the trust in response to concerns including eight never events in the past year. They found operations were scheduled in a way that put staff under too much pressure, increasing the likelihood of mistakes. 

Clinical staff said the timetables were unrealistic and made no allowance for unexpected incidents which could cause delays, while staff shortages meant specialist theatre staff were often unavailable.

The trust was reprimanded by the CQC in 2011 for failing to use the World Health Organization surgical safety checklist.

The CQC also found problems with staffing levels and poor end of life care choices. In one example a do not attempt resuscitation order was placed on a mentally competent patient without discussion. It was altered after CQC inspectors intervened and a conversation with the patient took place.

The trust is predicting a £13m deficit this year.