SOUTHEND Hospital's chief executive is to step down from her post.

In a sudden announcement the hospital has said Sue Hardy is set to leave.

In a statement she said: “It has been a privilege to be chief Eexecutive of Southend Hospital over the last two years but I now feel it is the right time to step aside and pursue other opportunities as the trust moves into a new era.

“This decision is not one I have taken lightly and I am sad to leave, but also proud of the hard work we have achieved together, particularly in introducing a clinical leadership structure within the Trust and making our finances more stable."

Ms Hardy added: "I wish the trust and all of the wonderful staff who care for our patients, every success for the future.”

Alan Tobias, Southend Hospital's chairman, said: “Sue has guided the trust as chief executive through an increasingly challenging and difficult period for the organisation. 

"She has also been a key driver of the continuing cross-organisational work to transform the wider health economy and has shown exceptional commitment to improving the care we provide to our local community.

“I would like to offer the formal thanks of the board for all her work on our behalf and we wish her every success for the future.”