The Southern Health and Social Care Health Trust has suffered a “massive blow” after its highly-regarded chief executive confirmed she is leaving for another top post.
Mairead McAlinden has been appointed as chief executive of South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust in England.
It is believed she was headhunted for the post after five years with the Southern Trust.
The trust received numerous awards under her leadership and its chair Roberta Brownlee said she “greatly regretted” accepting Mrs McAlinden’s resignation.
“I have had the pleasure of working with Mairead for many years most recently as chair and chief executive of this trust.
“Mairead has many outstanding qualities. She is highly committed, an insightful leader who at every stage has put the needs of our patients and clients first.
“As well as facing up to the many complex challenges we have in health, she has driven major developments and innovations. It is no coincidence that during her watch this trust has been recognised as the best performing in Northern Ireland and amongst the best in the UK.”
Mrs Brownlee added, “Her personal qualities are evident in all that she does and it is no surprise that she has been sought by another organisation. Not only is her departure a massive loss for this trust but also for the whole health and care system in Northern Ireland.”
Mrs McAlinden expressed her “deep gratitude” to all the staff for their “tremendous support and enormous commitment”.