The former chair of two NHS trusts has pleaded guilty to falsifying his qualifications in order to obtain the roles.

During a hearing at Exeter Crown Court on Friday, Jon Andrewes, who was appointed chair of Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust in 2015 and was chair of Torbay Care Trust and its successor Torbay and Southern Devon Health and Care Trust from 2007, pleaded guilty to two counts of misrepresenting his qualifications and one count of pecuniary advantage by deception in 2004.

However, Mr Andrewes denied the charge of having a false degree certificate from London University for the use in fraud. The prosecution must decide whether to proceed with this latter allegation.

Judge Geoffery Mercer has adjourned sentencing until 1 March and ordered a probation pre-sentence report.

Mr Andrewes was ordered to surrender his passport and continue to live at his current address.

Prosecutor Cameron Brown said: “[Mr Andrewes] is no longer in employment. He has sold his property and as a result has substantial finance available to him. He owns a barge in Holland.”

Mr Andrewes stepped down as chair at Royal Cornwall in July 2016 citing illness.

Local councillor Jim McKenna has been appointed as the trust’s new chair.

Mr McKenna is the representative for Penzance Promenade and was formerly chief executive of Penwith district council.