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£100m deficit ousts health authority boss

The chief executive of a strategic health authority has been replaced because of a projected £100 million deficit.

Mark Outhwaite, chief executive of Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire strategic health authority, had been in his post just seven months. He is now on annual leave after the Directorate of Health and Social Care for the South announced his replacement would be Geoff Scaife, chief executive of Birmingham and the Black Country strategic health authority.

Steve Mercer, lay chief executive of Avon LMC, said he was surprised to see Mr Outhwaite leave after such a short time in office. He blamed huge demands on the hospital sector under former health authorities for the financial problems: 'We're disappointed this has happened so quickly when he's not had a chance to have a real crack at the job.'

Ruth Carnall, director of health and social care for the south of the country, said: 'The problems the health service has been grappling with in the Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire area over a number of years are particularly complex and challenging and Mark Outhwaite has made a very important contribution to laying the foundations for dealing with these.'

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