A REVIEW of an embattled health trust's future has been launched by its new interim chairman.

Alan Yates is to look at how Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust's services could be improved, it was announced this afternoon.

It could result in 'a reconfiguration of services and transformation' of the organisation.

Mr Yates, an improvement director at the trust since April, takes over from Tim Smart, who resigned in September for 'personal reasons' following widespread criticism of his leadership.

That was followed by the resignation of former trust chief executive Katrina Percy, who left in October. She was in charge during a period in which an NHS England investigation found the trust failed to investigate hundreds of deaths.

In a statement this afternoon, NHS Improvement executive regional managing director for the South Anne Eden said: "It is good news that Alan has agreed to take on the role of interim chairman, for a four month period.

"His skills and significant knowledge of the trust will be valuable in leading the trust through the many challenges ahead.

"The trust has some excellent staff working hard to improve services for patients.

"We want to work with them, plus those who use the services and their families, to help design their future."

The review is expected to conclude early next year, she added.

Julie Dawes, the trust’s substantive director of nursing, will continue as interim chief executive.