Dr Alison Diamond, chief executive of Northern Devon Healthcare Trust, will retire in March, it has been announced

Dr Alison Diamond says she is 'fortunate to have led such an inspiring group of staff'. Picture: NDHTDr Alison Diamond says she is 'fortunate to have led such an inspiring group of staff'. Picture: NDHT

North Devon health boss Dr Alison Diamond has announced she will retire in March 2018.

Dr Diamond has served as chief executive of Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust since 2014.

She has worked in the NHS for more than 30 years and came to North Devon in 1989, first joining the trust in 2006 as associate medical director and becoming medical director in 2010.

She has steered the trust through recent upheaval of the health service reviews amid fears for the acute services at North Devon District Hospital.

The trust board will now start to plan for her replacement.

Dr Diamond said: “I am so proud to think that I have had the privilege of ending my career in the same trust which supported my GP training when I first came to North Devon. I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to serve my local communities.

“I have been so fortunate to have led such an inspiring group of staff and I am in awe of their commitment to working together to provide the very best care for local people.

“Their relentless enthusiasm for innovation and finding ways to make things even better is something to be very proud of and I will step down in March knowing that we are absolutely heading in the right direction.”

Dr Diamond has led the trust as it has shifted its focus to a ‘home-first model’, where patients receive treatment and care at home rather than spending more time in hospital.

The trust says it is now supporting more people to remain independent at home and is working with its partners more than ever before to join-up services.

It says it is often recognised nationally for its high performance and for the advances it has made in integrating health and social care. This year, the trust was a finalist in the provider trust of the year category of the national Health Service Journal Awards.

Trust chairman Roger French said: “Alison’s commitment to northern Devon has always been inspiring and everything she has achieved has been driven by a desire to do the very best for patients.

“She has had an impressive career in the local NHS, and has led a great deal of positive change within the trust, often through challenging times.

“Under Alison’s leadership, we have taken health and social care integration to the next level with initiatives such as the launch of Devon Cares, a service through which we organise social care for people in North and mid Devon, and One Northern Devon, a partnership between local organisations which sees them working together to provide better services for local people.

“We have been very fortunate to have benefitted from her expertise and we will wish Alison a very fond farewell when she comes to leave in March.”