Health boss resigns saying ‘life too short’

Image copyright TVCA
Image caption Siobhan McArdle has spent four years as the trust’s full-time chief executive

The chief executive of a troubled health trust has announced her resignation, saying “life is just too short”.

Siobhan McArdle, of South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said the personal cost of being a CEO in the NHS is “just too high”.

She said she considered demands for further efficiency savings at the trust “too great a challenge”.

In July, its intensive care was given the worst possible rating by watchdogs.

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Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) had visited Middlesbrough’s James Cook University Hospital and Northallerton’s Friarage Hospital and found “harm occurred” to patients because beds were not available.

Critical care was rated inadequate, while overall the trust was said to require improvement.

‘Financially unsustainable’

In her resignation email to staff, Ms McArdle said she had “remained true to my own values, vision and high levels of integrity”.

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“However, after much debate with my family and friends over the last 12 months, I have now decided that the personal cost of being a CEO in the NHS is just too high and life is just too short.”

She warned the trust was “financially unsustainable” without a long-term recovery plan to deal with its debts.

Ms McArdle took over as the trust’s full-time chief executive in 2015 and was appointed on an annual salary of £225,000, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

Trust chairman Alan Downey said he was sorry to see Ms McArdle resign after “giving her all” for more than four years, while Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston said her departure was a “great loss of leadership, integrity and experience”.

Middlesbrough’s Labour MP Andy McDonald said it was “undoubted that the trust does not have enough money to do its job” but added a new CEO would bring a “fresh approach”.

Ms McArdle will step down on 30 September.

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