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Union’s concern over sudden resignation of NHS trust chief

PUBLISHED: 17:26 12 June 2013 | UPDATED: 17:26 12 June 2013

Aidan Thomas, New Chief Executive of Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health Trust.; Picture: James Bass; Copy: Sarah Brealey; For: EDP News; Eastern Daily Press © 2009  (01603) 772434

Aidan Thomas, New Chief Executive of Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health Trust.; Picture: James Bass; Copy: Sarah Brealey; For: EDP News; Eastern Daily Press © 2009 (01603) 772434

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2009

Union chiefs called for more funding for Norfolk and Suffolk’s mental health trust following the sudden resignation of its chief executive.

Officials from Unison said that NHS commissioners had turned the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust into a “sinking ship” as a result of a reduction in funding.

Aidan Thomas, who had been chief executive for four years and managed the merger of Norfolk and Suffolk trusts, announced that he was resigning on Tuesday. He said his management style was better suited to working in a smaller organisation and admitted that he had been struggling with making the regular commute from his Essex home.

However, Unison said funding reductions from commissioners and the need to make a 20pc budget cut to make efficiency savings had presented Mr Thomas with a near impossible task.

The Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is in the process of making more than 500 job cuts and is reducing the number of in-patient beds as part of a reform of its services.

Jeff Keighley, Unison regional organiser, called on the new Clinical Commissioning Groups in Norfolk and Suffolk to give extra support to the NHS trust.

“By the commissioners cutting the funding they created a sinking ship for Mr Thomas to manage. It is no surprise that any chief executive would want to resign when placed in that situation,” he said.

Bob Blizzard, prospective parliamentary candidate for Waveney, added that he hoped the change of leadership at the mental health trust would lead to a review of the organisation’s plans to cut in-patient beds.

“With the sudden resignation, not long after they have a new chairman, I hope this may lead to some sort of rethink,” he said.

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