Two non-executive directors have spoken out after they and five others resigned from a trust board - leaving just the chair and executive members in place.

Two non-executive directors have spoken out after they and five others resigned from a trust board - leaving just the chair and executive members in place.

Two interim non-executives have now been appointed to ensure the board of United Lincolnshire Hospitals trust can hold meetings and be quorate.

Bill Baker, who was interim chair from May to July, and Mark Anderson, a board member since 2000, claim the remuneration committee was not involved in the selection and appointment of the trust's new chief executive Gary Walker, who took up his appointment in October.

Mr Baker, a fund manager, says he wrote to the present chair David Bowles whom, he said, had requested all seven non-executives resign. In his letter, Mr Baker said he had agreed to become interim chair 'at some sacrifice to other plansnow I find I am discarded from the board barely months later.' His treatment had been 'a bit shoddy', he said.

But the changes have also left the trust with little continuity at a time when it is meant to be implementing a turnaround plan and considering options for reconfiguration of services. 'I do questionthe wisdom and appropriateness of removing all of the existing non-executive leadership, particularly given that the function of this part of the board is to provide some independence of thought,' Mr Baker said.

'It seems to me that it will be challengingfor the board to be able to operate in the near future with the sort of visible standards of governance that the people of Lincolnshire should expect.'

Mr Anderson was also angry about his treatment. He said the strategic health authority tried to get the trust board to agree to save£28m in one year. When he questioned whether this was possible, 'I was told if I was not prepared to do it they would have my resignation there and then'.

He added that a diagnostic exercise to assess the trust's fitness for foundation status was used to attack non-executives and claim they were not up to the job. The chair of the former Trent SHA Arthur Sandford wrote to the trust saying he would 'encourage the trust to review the board's non-executive director membership'. This letter was then presented to an open board meeting and covered in the local press.

Toby Sanders, who was associate director for performance at the former SHA, said the diagnostic exercise was extremely robust and externally validated. The recommendations reached were those of all agencies involved in the process, not just the SHA.

He pointed out that the agreement on the trust's recovery plan was eventually reached and was for two years. The trust had had a lot of problems and he said it was not surprising that it attracted a significant amount of external attention, and that, in board-to-board meetings, the SHA's style was 'clear and unequivocal'.

But Mr Anderson said: 'I'm not a professional person. I'm a stakeholder, a member of the public. You get£80 a week as a non-executive to be publicly chastised. It has been bloody awful. I have lost my confidence, it's shot. But as a non-executive I can't take them to an employment tribunal like anyone else.

'They are not interested in these people who know their communities, who represent their community - all they are interested in are business people and entrepreneurs.'

Mr Anderson, who said his own political career as a Labour councillor had been damaged by the affair, said many of the other non-executives 'just wish to forget. Some feel very angry and hurt'.

The trust, which has a£28m deficit, recently discovered that hundreds of patients had been waiting longer than they needed for elective operations.

Helen Scott-South, the chief operating officer who was acting chief executive earlier this year, was suspended as a neutral act while an inquiry took place.

She is now to retire, the trust has announced. Mr Baker said it was 'extraordinary and unsatisfactory that so little information about the waiting-list inquiry has been brought to the board so far.'

Mr Anderson said lack of money was not the root of the problems in Lincolnshire. 'There was shedloads of money going into the organisation. They do not know how to control budgets. That was the big failing. We grew bigger and faster than we should have done. We were taking on services that the PCTs and social services did not want to do.'