WORKFORCE: Poole Hospitals Foundation Trust chief executive Chris Bown has announced he will leave the trust next year, after its merger plans were blocked.

Mr Bown’s post would have become redundant had Poole combined with neighbouring Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals Foundation Trust as planned. Royal Bournemouth chief executive Tony Spotswood had already been appointed chief executive designate of the new organisation.

Poole is currently under investigation by Monitor after forecasting a deficit for 2014-15 and argued it needed to merge to ensure the future viability of its services. However, the Competition Commission announced it was blocking the merger last month.

The trust’s director of nursing Martin Smits and director of finance Paul Turner are planning to retire next year while the post of chief operating officer is filled on an interim basis.

Mr Bown said he was proud of the hospital and its “remarkable staff” but was announcing his intention to stand down now so his replacement could “lead the organisation through its next period of development, now that the proposed merger has been prohibited”.

Mr Bown, who also chaired the South West Regional Pay Consortium which explored options for moving away from national pay, terms and conditions, is not retiring.

The search for a new chief executive will begin immediately.