The chief executive of a troubled Birmingham hospital trust has announced his resignation after a health watchdog slammed its leadership.

In a online diary entry Mark Newbold detailed his reasons for leaving the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT) described language used by Monitor about the trust as “undermining” and “uncomfortable”.

The watchdog said there were “clear failures in leadership” which lead to longer waiting times and concern over mortality figures.

Latest figures show 5,518 patients waited more than the four hour targets at Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull hospitals, all run by the trust.

However, Mr Newbold, who led the trust for four years, added he didn’t question the findings by the watchdog.

In his resignation letter, which he published through his diary entry, he said: “Overcrowding is the singular problem that HEFT has, and I regret that I have not managed to solve this on a sustained basis.

“It is, as you are aware, responsible either directly or indirectly for most of the main missed targets, and indeed our mortality rates and poor staff morale.

“If I had managed to solve the overcrowding, I do not think I would be writing this letter.

“However, a chief executive has to know when the time is right to pass the baton on, and I believe that time is now. The teams and the staff in HEFT are excellent and committed, and I have no doubt that they will come through.”

He added through his frank and open diary entry: “I feel it is time for me to step down. I will no doubt reflect on events more deeply in the future.

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“I have very much enjoyed my time at Heart of England. I have been totally committed to the role for over 4 years now, and I am proud that we have brought about many changes.

“I am particularly pleased with the progress we have made on openness and a transparent way of operating.”

In a previous statement Adam Cayley, Regional Director at Monitor, said of the concerns at HEFT: “The regulator has decided that the range and seriousness of these issues demonstrate a clear failure in leadership and the trust’s organisational systems.”