The resignation of the chief executive of the Northern Health trust Norma Evans has been announced by the Department of Health in Northern Ireland.

She is now due to meet with the country`s health minister, Michael McGimpsey, and trust chair Jim Stewart.

Mr Stewart commented: “Norma has dedicated more that 39 years to health and social care and it is with deep regret that I accept her resignation.”

Ms Evans brought forward her planned retirement after the trust identified a substantial overspend which will take time to address.

A Department of Health spokesman said: “In light of this development the minister is meeting with the chair and chief executive on Monday to discuss plans to urgently address this matter.”

A string of C difficile cases affected hospitals in the Northern Health trust area last year, putting pressure on hospitals and staff that has contributed to a £3.6m end of year deficit.