WORKFORCE: The chief executive of Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust has announced plans to retire before the end of the year in a move that has surprised people locally.

In a letter sent to staff yesterday Lezli Boswell said she had informed the trust chair of her intention to retire “several months ago” and would be handing over to her deputy, chief nurse Andrew MacCallum, by November.

However, Ms Boswell, who is a registered nurse, will continue in her role as national clinical director for rural and remote care at NHS England.

Lezli Boswell

Local health campaigners said Lezli Boswell ‘had a vision for Cornwall’

Royal Cornwall has a history of performance and financial difficulties but has finished the year with a small surplus every year since Ms Boswell joined the trust in 2011.

The trust was hoping to get back onto the foundation trust pipeline this year but was rated requires improvement by the Care Quality Commission following an inspection in January due to concerns about the safety and responsiveness of services.

Ms Boswell recently called for the development of one integrated provider in Cornwall after it emerged Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust and community provider Peninsula Community Health were planning to merge.

However, HSJ understands a three-way merger is not being taken forward at this time.

In her letter to staff Ms Boswell reiterated the need for more integration in the county.

She said: “The way forward, I believe, is better integration of health and social care services around the patient and more care provided outside of hospital settings.

“There appears huge support in our community for integration and Cornwall should now seize the opportunity.”

Graham Webster, shadow governor at the trust and a local health campaigner, told HSJ there had been surprise at the announcement of Ms Boswell’s departure.

He said: “I think it’s going to be a very sad loss for Cornwall. She transformed the organisation and she had a vision for Cornwall.”