The chair of South East Coast Ambulance Service Foundation Trust has resigned, a year after taking up the post.

Richard Foster has been advised he will need major surgery soon and has stepped down from the role with immediate effect.

The trust said he felt he would not be able to devote the necessary time to the trust, which is rated inadequate by the Care Quality Commission and is in special measures.

Mr Foster said: “I am tendering my resignation with deep regret. It has been a difficult decision but I feel it is the right decision for myself and for the trust at this time.”

Trust chief executive Daren Mochrie said: “On behalf of the trust, I would like to thank Richard for his contribution during the past 12 months and wish him well, both for his forthcoming surgery and for the future.”

Deputy chair Graham Colbert will step up until the council of governors appoint a permanent replacement.

Mr Foster, a former chief executive of the Crown Prosecution Service, took over from interim chair Peter Dixon in April 2017. The trust had lost both its substantive chair and chief executive in a difficult period when it was heavily criticised for delaying responses to some emergency calls.