An investigation into allegations of bullying by a senior health boss still has not reached a conclusion after eight months.

It is understood since the investigation began in March, medical director George Thomson has not been at work, but has been on full pay. His duties are being covered by other staff.

According to the 2016-2017 Northern Devon Healthcare Trust (NDHT) annual financial report, Mr Thomson's salary band is £195-£200,000 per year, plus £52,500-£55,000 in pension-related benefits.

This would equate to around £190,000 paid to Mr Thomson since the investigation began.

Mr Thomson is still under the employment of NDHT.

In a statement Suzanne Tracey, chief executive of NDHT, said: “An independent review has been under way relating to NDHT's medical director since March 2018.

“We are concluding this as quickly as we can for those involved, however we recognise that this is complex and situations such as this take time to resolve.”

Sue Matthews, of Save Our Hospital Services (SOHS), said the campaign group was concerned about the impact of the investigation on the trust.

“The impact of his employment has caused considerable concern throughout for staff at the trust,” she told the Gazette.

“How much will the on-going uncertainty cost, and who will pay?”

In January, clinicians supported a motion of no confidence in Mr Thomson.

It came shortly after former chief executive Alison Diamond announced her retirement in November. She was replaced by Mrs Tracey.

Mrs Tracey added: “We have strong medical leadership arrangements in place in the interim, with medical director cover now being provided by Professor Adrian Harris.

“Adrian is also the experienced medical director of the RD&E, and this supports closer working between the two trusts as part of our Collaborative Agreement.

“We have also increased the amount of time across the trust spent on the crucial deputy medical director role, with three experienced NDHT doctors in post as deputies and representing NDHT at external meetings.”

Mrs Tracey said she was confident the team would be able to improve the trust.

NDHT would not confirm when the investigation would conclude, or if the results would be made public.