AN OUTGOING hospital boss has thanked her staff for their “huge commitment” after announcing plans to retire at the end of this year.

Chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Mary Edwards is to step down in December after 13 years at the helm.

In a statement Mrs Edwards said: “Deciding to retire after so many years of service was tough because of the loyalty I feel to the staff and because I recognise the huge commitment shown by all our staff who come to work every day to deliver the best possible service to our patients. 

“After a lot of thought and discussion with my husband, we have decided to prioritise our plans for retirement together. 

“The trust has a great leadership team and amazing staff and I wish them every success for the future and I’d like to thank all my colleagues for their support over many years. 

“I know whoever replaces me will have the same belief in our staff and the same focus on patient care.”

Mrs Edwards first joined HHFT, which runs Basingstoke hospital, as director of nursing in 1995.

She became chief executive in 2003 and has since overseen the transition of the organisation from the former NHS Trust into the new Foundation Trust.

In 2012 she led the creation of the new Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Praising her work over the last 13 years, chairman of HHFT Elizabeth Padmore said: “Mary’s contribution to the organisation has been truly significant. 

“Her focus has always been on supporting the staff and enabling them to deliver high-quality and compassionate patient care. 

“Her trademark approach, and one of the keys to her success as a leader, has been to support senior clinical staff to enable them to implement service developments that are clinically led and patient-focused. 

“Mary’s drive, vision and ability to bring people together means she leaves behind a resilient organisation. 

“We have a great senior team who will welcome and support whoever is appointed into the role of chief executive.”

The HHFT board has begun the search for a new chief executive and it is anticipated that an appointment will be made by the end of the year.