• Weston Area Health Trust set for new chief executive and chair
  • New chiefs hold same roles at University Hospitals Bristol Trust
  • Merger business case to be considered in November

England’s smallest acute trust will share a chief executive and chair with its larger neighbour with which it is merging.

Weston Area Health Trust, based in Weston-super-Mare, announced on Tuesday that University Hospitals Bristol Trust’s chief executive Robert Woolley and chair Jeff Farrar will become its new leaders.

The £100m-income trust’s current CEO James Rimmer will become chief executive at Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group. Weston’s chair Grahame Paine will remain as an “adviser” to the trust.

The changes take effect on 1 September.

Both trusts confirmed their intention to merge in January 2018.

Mr Rimmer said “significant progress” had been made on the merger and he was encouraged by the “commitment” from Mr Woolley and Mr Farrar.

Mr Rimmer continued: “With this in mind, and with the full business case well underway, the chair and I have taken the decision to step aside in recognition of this positive progress.

“It is the right time to formalise the future leadership of the organisation.”

The full business case for the merger will be presented to the trusts’ board for approval in November 2019.

Weston’s emergency department has been closed overnight since June 2017 due to staffing and safety problems. A decision on its future is expected in autumn this year.