A key figure in the ambulance service has announced he is retiring after nearly 15 years.
Simon Featherstone, chief executive of the North East Ambulance Service, has announced he is stepping down.
He joined as chief executive in October 1999 after a career as a chartered accountant and has played a part in the reform of urgent and emergency care, ensuring the service played a full part in the delivery of improvements in patient care both locally and nationally.
He said: “It will be a big wrench to leave the NEAS, but the time is right for me as I turned 60 last year.
“My time here has been highly stimulating and personally fulfilling, which has been made possible because of the close support of successive chairmen, non-executive directors and a wonderful team of colleagues, right across the trust.”
Under his leadership, the service expanded through two mergers – firstly between Northumbria Ambulance and County Durham Ambulance services then with Teesside – creating an additional 1,000 jobs, and led on innovations in urgent and emergency care that have been copied and rolled out across the country.
NEAS chairman Ash Winter said: “I would like to give my thanks and that of the board for Simon’s 15 years of excellent service to NEAS.
“He has inspired the ambulance locally to truly innovative reform that has immeasurably improved patient care and to lead the ambulance sector nationally to be a recognised and influential partner in the reform of urgency and emergency care.
“We will be wishing him every happiness in retirement in the months ahead and will now begin the search for a new chief executive.”