A HEALTH boss credited with improving standards during one of Colchester Hospital’s toughest times has left after almost three years.

Dr Barbara Buckley, medical director at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, was praised by colleagues.

Chairman David White said Dr Buckley had been a “tower of strength” to staff.

Dr Buckley came to Colchester in 2016 to help Mr White and chief executive Nick Hulme drive improvements after it had faced a series of failings and was in special measures.

Dr Buckley has also been looking at specialties at Colchester and Ipswich and assessing how they work after the two hospitals merged last July.

She has been trying to ascertain where, if any, changes should be made and had helped produce a soon-to-be published clinical strategy.

Mr White thanked Dr Buckley for her work and said she was moving onto a new role in London.

He said: “Barbara will be missed, there is no doubt. You are highly respected, well-liked and valued by the way you go about your work but purposeful and incredibly influential in terms of your approach.

“Some of the people were on the back foot, you helped change that but in a very supportive way.”