UPDATE: There have been two more resignations with Sir Roger Boyle and Sue Hall resigning.

Sir Roger,  told the BBC he was leaving the board because "relationships between executive and non-executive functions have now been damaged beyond repair in this particular organisation".

Sue Hall said she could "no longer fulfil the essential oversight and assurance role".

The NHS Trust Development Authority has appointed a new Chair of Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust on an interim basis.

Angela Ballatti will take up the post in early July.  She will bring over 15 years’ experience as a Chair of NHS boards across the country to this challenging role.

Angela Ballatti said: “It is a great privilege to be asked to take the chairmanship role at Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust.  The organisation has clearly made great strides in improving services for the people of Cornwall over the last few years and I am looking forward to providing the stable board leadership to the Trust that will enable them to build on that success.  I am looking forward to working closely with Lezli Boswell and all of the staff at Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust.”

The Chairman of the NHS Trust Development Authority, Sir Peter Carr said: “I appreciate that the events of the last few weeks may have been unsettling time for people in Cornwall.  That is exactly why we have appointed such an experienced Chair as Angela Ballatti.  I am hugely confident that she is exactly what is needed to provide that crucial stability and focus that is needed on the Board at the Trust.”

A new chairman at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust, installed just two days ago after the surprise resignation of the former chairman, has thrown in the towel after just two days.

He has blamed chief executive Lezli Boswell and some members of the executive team for his swift exit.

Mike Higgins resigned from the interim chairman post, in a move described as "disappointing" by a RCHT spokesperson.

He said more resignations would follow and that the reason for his departure was due a "divide” between the executive team and the rest of the board over the process and timeline about complaints about previous chairman Martin Watts. He has publicly called for Mr Watts to be reinstated.

“There was substantial resistance to get a detailed timeline and information related to the alleged incidents and to the time leading to his (Watts) departure.

“We want to know when those incidents happened, were they reported to their line managers and was Mr Watts given an opportunity to talk to these people and put his side of the story across? We have none of that information or reports.

“The only discussion I had with the chief executive was one phone call that lasted five minutes informing me that there had been an incident and Martin had been involved.

“Now the executive team believes this is a witch hunt and an attempt to put the blame on the executive. That is not the case. We just want to know the process was fair to everybody and that the decision was made based on sound evidence.

“If I was David Flory I would reinstate him (Watts) immediately and get a detailed report into what led up to this.

“The question is, where this hospital goes in the future? Is it going to continue the improvements according to the strategy put together by Mr Watts or is it staying where it is.

“The best way forward is to say ‘we made a mistake’, we acted hastily and apologise to Martin.

Mr Watts resigned after two complaints about his behaviour were upheld.


Just days ago he was quoted as saying what an honour it was to be appointed, saying: "I will do all I can to offer stability and focus to ensure we continue to provide the very best care for our patients. I look forward to working with all of my board colleagues to ensure a successful future and the successful achievement of NHS Foundation Trust status for the benefit of the people of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.”

Mr Higgins has extensive experience as an international business executive, according to the NHS Trust Development Authority, and has worked with organisations including Adobe, EDS, Texas Instruments and Sapient.

He was appointed as chair of RCHT on an interim basis until a full time appointment can be made - he has been deputy chairman at the trust since March 31, 2011.

Former chairman Martin Watts quit as chair last week after a conduct complaint.

RCHT spokesperson said today: “We can confirm that Mike Higgins has decided to resign as interim Chairman of Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust.

“Clearly, this is disappointing but we continue to work with the NHS Trust Development Authority on both the interim arrangements and the permanent appointment of a new Chairman of Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust.

“We are committed to ensuring that all our staff feel able to raise any concerns they have, with the assurance that those concerns will be dealt with appropriately.

“We will not be distracted from our duties of continuing to provide excellent patient care.”

NHS Trust Development Authority (TDA) spokesperson added: “We are actively working to ensure that Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust has the leadership it needs as quickly as possible."