The chief executive of a south west primary trust cluster has resigned fewer than six months after taking up the post, citing personal reasons.

Jeff James, who was appointed to lead the NHS Bath and North East Somerset and NHS Wiltshire cluster in May, is the second  PCT cluster chief to stand down since the summer.

Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire cluster boss Sonia Mills resigned unexpectedly in August to “pursue new challenges”.

Mr James, who joined NHS Wiltshire in 2006, was ordained as a priest in the Church of England in 2002. The 58-year-old will work his six months notice at the cluster, leaving in April 2012 a year before PCTs are abolished.

In a statement he said: “After a 31 year career in the health service, 16 years of which have been as a chief executive, I have decided that it is time to change the balance of activities in my life.  It has been a great privilege to work with NHS colleagues and partners in Wiltshire in the last five years and more recently with NHS colleagues and partners in Bath and North East Somerset”.

NHS BANES completed the transfer of its community services to an integrated health and social care organisation on 1 October.