Chairman of region’s mental health trust leaves post weeks earlier than planned

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust chairman Gary Page was due to leave his post in the new yea

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust chairman Gary Page was due to leave his post in the new year. Photo: NSFT - Credit: NSFT

The chairman of Norfolk and Suffolk's mental health trust is leaving his post with immediate effect - just weeks before the expected publication of the trust's latest inspection report.

Gary Page was due to leave Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) early next year when he term in office comes to an end.

But the trust announced on Tuesday that Mr Page was leaving 'with immediate effect' to make way for its new leadership team.

Current vice chairman Tim Newcomb will act as chairman of both the board of directors and council of governors until a permanent replacement for Mr Page is appointed in December.

READ MORE: CQC inspectors return to region's mental health trust

The latest Care Quality Commission (CQC) report on the troubled trust is expected to be published in the coming weeks, and it is believed NSFT bosses have already had sight of the report.

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NSFT has twice been rated inadequate by the CQC in recent years.

Mr Page, who joined NSFT as a non-executive director in 2012, said: 'I believe it is in the best interests of the trust for me to make way now so that those who are going to be part of the new leadership team can take forward the work that needs to be done to address the challenges which continue to face the trust.

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'It has been a great privilege to be chair of NSFT. I have seen first-hand the amazing work which our staff do to support some of the most vulnerable people in Norfolk and Suffolk, often in the most difficult of circumstances.

'Whilst significant challenges remain, I believe the new team we have in place has the experience, drive and commitment to make the necessary changes in order to deliver the quality of care which our service users deserve. I wish them every success in the future.'

Antek Lejk, NSFT chief executive, said: 'On behalf of both our board and staff, I would like to thank Gary for the commitment and determination he has shown to improving our trust for the benefit of service users, carers and staff over the past seven years.

'During his time in office, mental health services have been given increasing priority and the importance of fair funding has risen up the agenda, both locally and nationally. Over the last six months, Gary has also played a key role in helping to build our new executive team and recruit three new non-executive directors, in turn laying firm foundations on which we can build over the coming months and years.

'Although we fully appreciate that there are still challenges ahead, we are confident that we have the right skills and experience in place to drive through improvements while retaining our focus on providing safe, effective services which meet the needs of local people.'

The process to appoint Mr Page's replacement began in September after he announced his decision to stand down. Stakeholders, including staff, service users, carers and partner organisations will be given the chance to meet shortlisted candidates, as well as the opportunity to provide feedback to the interview panel.

The panel will then make a recommendation to the council of governors, which is expected to approve a new chairman in December.

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