Following the death of her husband last week, Mairead McAlinden, Chief Executive at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation trust, has decided to take early retirement.
Addressing staff on her decision, Mairead said: “Martin and I came to Devon with such excitement about starting a new stage in our lives, but with a little trepidation because it was such a leap into the unknown - we need not have worried. You welcomed us with open arms and kind hearts, showing us friendship and guiding us into the Devon way of life that we so enjoyed. I have such happy memories, and knowing that Martin spent his last years in a place he loved and with such lovely people is a comfort beyond measure.
“I have been so pleased and proud to hear of your achievements over recent months, and that the Trust has received the recognition you all deserve for your hard work and dedication. I will always think of my time as your Chief Executive as a privilege and an honour, and it has been the best time of my 36 years in health and social care.”
In accordance with the NHS Foundation Trust Code of Governance, Trust Chairman, Sir Richard Ibbotson, has already commended the process to appoint a substantive Chief Executive.
He commented: “We were all very sad to learn that Mairead’s husband has died, and I have opened a book of condolences for people who wish to send her their own personal messages. Mairead’s legacy to this Trust is extraordinarily positive: she provided the strength of leadership needed to oversee a completely new chapter in the NHS history for Torbay, as she delivered the creation of our integrated care organisation.
“Under her leadership, we have transformed the way we deliver services to provide more care closer to people’s homes and in their communities, as well as investing in our hospital services - including opening a new ICU at Torbay Hospital. We have been rated outstanding for caring by the CQC for the past three years and are now rated good overall.
“At the same time as delivering real quality improvements, Mairead led the Trust to achieve significant financial savings - £40m in the last year alone, which meant we were able to balance our books. With her focus on the ‘best care for Devon’, Mairead made an enormous contribution to the sustainability of hospital services in Devon. She led the first phase of the Acute Services Review on behalf of the Devon Sustainability and Transformation partnership, with the recommendation that ED, maternity and stroke services will remain at all four of Devon’s hospitals.
“I am grateful to Liz Davenport, who will continue in her role of Interim Chief Executive to take forward our agenda of transformation – including a new ED Department for the Hospital and greater integration of health and social care services across our communities.”