A health chief who laughed off stories portraying him as the Dirty Den of the NHS has stood down from his £140,000 job – to spend more time with his wife.
Aidan Thomas, chief executive of mental health services in Norfolk and Suffolk, emailed colleagues denying he had an EastEnders-style love life after rumours got out of control.
They emerged as he left his wife Sarah at their family home in Essex while he stayed in Norwich during the week to work.
Mr. Thomas, 53, said he decided against moving home to avoid disrupting the education of his two children.
In an email to staff last October he wrote : “Can I say from the start that some of the stories I have heard have been quite entertaining and have cast me in a role more akin to EastEnders than to running an NHS Trust.
“However, unlike Den Watts, my life is a bit more mundane than you might think.
“Fans of Jeremy Kyle may be disappointed by the news that I’ve been happily married to my wife Sarah for 24 years and that we have two fantastic children who I think the world of
“Sorry to disappoint those whose minds run wild about what I might be getting up to while I’m away from home – I’m generally on the phone to my wife, answering emails or reading meeting papers.
“Sometimes my fellow executive team members take pity on me and we go out for a curry or comedy night but for the most part it’s just plain boring.”
Mr. Thomas said he had been “happily married” to teacher Sarah, 53, for 24 years but now planned to step down to avoid living away from home.
He said he had been “proud” of his work but admitted he had “struggled” with the commute from Essex to Norwich.
He said: “Now would be the right time to step aside and let someone else lead the Trust through the changes over the coming years.
“Those who have worked with me know that I wouldn’t ever want to give less than 100 per cent in any role.
“I do believe my style of management is better suited to a smaller organisation.”
Gary Page, chairman of the mental health trust, said he was “genuinely sorry” to see Mr Thomas leave but respected “his reasons for doing so”.
Mr Thomas led a restructure of the NHS trust over the last year to reduce more than 500 jobs.