WORKFORCE: The chair of Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust has announced he is standing down from the role.

Hywel Evans made his decision because of recent ill health and his wish to spend more time with his growing family, the trust said in an announcement.

He was chair throughout the period since the creation of the trust two years ago, following the merger of Royal West Sussex and Worthing and Southlands hospitals trusts.

In the immediate future trust vice chair Tony Clark will take on his duties.

NHS South East Coast has already begun the process of searching for a substantive replacement but consideration is also being given to making an interim appointment.

Trust chief executive Marianne Griffiths said: “We are all disappointed at Hywel’s departure, because he has been a fantastic chairman and we will all miss him. He has made a significant contribution in his time here, but I fully appreciate and respect the reasons behind his decision.

“Hywel has been our chairman since the time of the merger, and has provided invaluable leadership and great support throughout the last two years as we have all faced the challenges of bringing two organisations together as one. He has also done this with consistent good humour.”