A RETIRING health boss said the past few months had been the most difficult of his career in East Lancashire.

Chief executive David Young, 60, left his desk this week after eight years with Whalley-based Calderstones Partnership NHS Foundation Trust which cares for patients with learning disabilities and mental health problems across the North West.

But he is not planning to put his feet up just yet, as he and his daughter have bought a small hairdressing business near his home in Cheshire, which they will run together.

Mr Young said he was ‘extremely proud’ of the trust’s achievements in recent years, but admitted the past six months had been tough.

In March, eight staff were suspended at a Calderstones care home in Rochdale, after allegations of mistreatment of a patient. The incident prompted health regulator Monitor to launch an investigation, which is still ongoing.

Mr Young said: “I would say this has been the most difficult period and my successor will have to get back into Monitor’s green rating.

“There have been a lot of fundamental issues that arose and we’ve identified improvements. It’s all been in the public gaze and I’ve made more appearances in the news than I would have liked.

“But the board has always been clear we have zero tolerance of abuse of patients.

“We’ve had the Care Quality Commission in recently and there’s every indication that services are safe and sound.”

Mr Young said he had left a ‘robust’ organisation which gives patients the best chance to overcome their problems.

He added: “I’m most proud of the achievements our service users have made to improve their lives. People do come here with problem pasts but we help them understand their thinking and emotions and how not to be reactive.

“We pride ourselves with being able to help some of society’s most challenging people.”

Mr Young has worked for various NHS trusts and joined Calderstones as finance director in 2005. He was chief executive for 18 months and played a key role in the trust’s foundation status, which helped launch various building projects and expansions.

These have included the purchase of Gisburn Lodge, now a medium-secure unit, the building of the 36-bed Woodview, a medium-secure unit at Whalley, and the soon-to-be-opened Maplewood 2, a low-secure unit at Whalley.

Mr Young’s successor is Mark Hindle, former chief operating officer at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust.