Southern Health Care Trust chief executive Mairead McAlinden is leaving to take up a top post in England.
Mrs McAlinden, who has been in the role for five years, has been described as a “colossus” within the Health Service by Upper Bann MP David Simpson.
She has been appointed chief executive of South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.
Mr Simpson said, “Mairead McAlinden has been an outstanding chief executive within the Southern Trust and she will be sadly missed by her colleagues, friends and myself as an elected representatives. Mairead was someone who through hard work and dedication worked her way up the career ladder and as a result knew every detail of hospital and Trust life.
“I believe this knowledge and dedication set her apart from others in the field and that is why I personally would describe her as a colossus within the Health Service. I always enjoyed a strong and effective working relationship with Mairead throughout my years as Member of Parliament for Upper Bann and I will miss her as a work colleague and also as a friend.
“Mairead in everything she did demonstrated a desire and determination to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the Southern Trust and was on both accounts successful with the Southern Trust outperforming all others. Mairead has had the difficult task of dealing with the recent budgetary pressures whilst maintaining the everyday running of the Southern Trust and I pay tribute to the character in which she has performed these roles.
“No matter what the issue was; Mairead was never further than a phone call away for both me and the support staff within my advice centres. She pledged a commitment to the area that was often overlooked yet through this she fought tooth and nail to bring about the very best for the Southern Trust.”
Mayor Colin McCusker paid tribute to Mrs McAlinden for helping Craigavon Hospital win a 40 Hospital Award for three years running despite “financial constraints”.