JO Cubbon has announced she is to retire as chief executive at Taunton’s Musgrove Park Hospital in the New Year.

During over six years of her leadership, Musgrove has been graded as an outstanding hospital by the Care Quality Commission, regularly being among the top performing hospitals regionally and nationally and seen numerous service improvements and accolades, while she was named as one of the top chief executives in the country.

Ms Cubbon, a former GB athlete, said: “This is a very exciting time for Musgrove.

“I feel the hospital has a number of important opportunities to deliver over the next five years and a chief executive who is able to be at the helm during that whole period is, I believe, crucial. This is something I feel I am not able to give.

“After more than six fantastic years in the post I feel now is the right time, with a new chairman, Colin Drummond, in post, to support him in the selection of a new chief executive who can take Musgrove to the next stage of growing and delivering a great hospital for our patients.

“This is not a decision I have taken lightly and is one I have taken some time to come to, but I feel this is the right decision for both the hospital and me.

“I very much intend that it is ‘business as usual’ until then, as we move forward in delivering the best possible patient care for all those coming to Musgrove.”

Mr Drummond said: “Jo has made a huge contribution to the hospital over the last six years and all of us will be sorry to lose her when the time comes.

“However, we must fully respect what is a very difficult decision for any successful chief executive – you are going to have to retire sooner or later and the challenge is finding the right time.

“We are grateful that she will work with us over the coming months to ensure a smooth transition to a new chief executive.”

A formal appointment process for Ms Cubbon’s replacement is underway.