THE boss of South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust is to leave the organisation.

Will Warrender was appointed chief executive at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and has led the trust through some its most challenging times.

He is also the national lead for employee wellbeing and suicide prevention at the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives.

His announcement means kickstarts the process of appointing a replacement, ensuring a smooth transition of leadership ahead of his departure.

Mr Warrender said: “Having joined the NHS after 32 years in the Royal Navy, it has been an immense privilege to lead the organisation over the past three years.

"The journey we have been on in this time is extraordinary and I am proud of the way we have handled the impact and aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, together with other pressures facing urgent and emergency care in the South West.

“We have a new, five-year strategy and a robust plan in place which is starting to deliver palpable improvements in the care we provide to patients across the region.

"On a personal level I feel it is now the right time for me to move on and hand over the reins to my successor to lead the organisation through the next chapter of its development.

“I would like to thank every member of the trust and our incredible volunteers who continue to perform brilliantly.

"My thanks to all of our partners across emergency services and the health and care systems in the South West who contribute to a system approach that is critical to the services we provide to our patients and communities. I would also like to thank regional colleagues who helped me to make the transition from a different part of the public sector to the NHS.”

SWASFT chairman Stephen Otter said: “On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Will for his contribution to the trust during the most challenging time for the NHS and ambulance services in particular.

“Will has dedicated his career to public service and his unwavering commitment in the South West has been respected and welcomed by staff, patients and partners alike.

"This approach has led and enabled any of the improvements we have seen in the most adverse circumstances and pressure following the Covid-19 pandemic.

"I would like to thank Will for his dedication to public service, the ambulance service and to our local communities across the South West and I wish him well in his next chapter.”