In response to the Covid-19 emergency, Oxford Health’s chief executive Stuart Bell has deferred his retirement plans and will remain in post until June 14.

He was due to retire at the end of the month after turning 60 and completing 37 years’ service with the NHS.

Incoming chief executive Dr Nick Broughton, current chief executive at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, will now take up his role on June 15. This will allow for a smooth transition as we continue to deal with the pandemic.

Trust chair David Walker said: “Stuart was due to retire from the NHS at the end of April.

“He has generously agreed to stay on at a critical time to lead our collective efforts to meet the Covid-19 challenge. The new arrangement helps our neighbours in Southern Health adjust as Nick’s successor takes over.”

Speaking of his decision to continue leading the trust, which was approved by the board of directors,  he said: “This is the biggest collective endeavour the NHS has undertaken and all of us are having to work differently to rise to the occasion.

“I am glad to be able to continue to play my part in this, and to work with our staff and partners to ensure the people we serve, indeed all of us, get the health services we need.”