WORKFORCE: The chief executive of University Hospitals of North Midlands Trust has resigned.

The trust announced this morning that Mark Hackett had decided to “move on” after 16 months in the job. 

It would not confirm when Mr Hackett had handed in his notice but an acting chief executive has started with immediate effect.

Mr Hackett had been appointed to the top job at UHNM’s predecessor, University Hospital of North Staffordshire Trust in July 2013. The trust changed its name when it took over some of the services run by now defunct Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust.

The trust’s most recent publicly forecast deficit position for 2016-17 is £16.8m. Its accident and emergency performance for quarter three of this financial year was 79.1 per cent, against the national target of 95 per cent. The most recent elective referral-to-treatment time performance saw 9.4 per cent of patients waiting more than 18 weeks, against a national target of no more than 8 per cent. It had eight patients on lists who had waited more than a year for treatment.

Last January the trust was responsible for half of the national total for patients waiting longer than 12 hours in A&E from the decision to admit until admission. In September it was given three performance notices for failing to hit three cancer pathway waiting time targets.

The Staffordshire area is to receive £176m in additional funding from the Department of Health and the NHS Trust Development Authority by the end of 2016-17 as part of a regional restructuring plan - but leadership across the region was criticised in an independent report, which described an ”oppressive culture” and in “perpetual crisis mode”.

Trust chair John MacDonald said: “As a board we recognise that few would have taken on this challenge, never mind delivered so much. He leaves the trust with a strong vision and one which we are keen to progress. Mark will be a hard act to follow and we wish him every success in the future.

“On behalf of the trust board and all colleagues, I would like to thank Mark for his unparalleled drive, energy and commitment. He has been a staunch advocate for the people of Stoke and Staffordshire and leaves behind a strong legacy of safe, effective services.

”Mark has led the trust through a critical period of the trust’s development with the completion of the building of the new hospital, the acquisition of Stafford Hospital, improved our finances and strengthened the leadership of the Staffordshire health and social care system.”

In a statement Mr Hackett said: ”I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as chief executive and am proud of the progress we have made as a new trust. It has been a rewarding but intense experience. Having delivered on my promises to provide safe services at County Hospital, finalise the redevelopment of Royal Stoke University Hospital, transform services across both sites, reduce the financial deficit and develop an ambitious 10-year vision for the trust, I feel that the time is now right for me to hand on the baton to someone new.

“I would like to thank staff, partners and the public for their support over the years and wish them the very best for the future.”

The trust has a turnover of £700m. Medical director Robert Courteney-Harris will be acting chief executive until a permanent replacement is found.