Norwich chief exec to lead mental health merger

The boss of Norfolk's mental health trust has been appointed to oversee the proposed merger between the Norfolk and Suffolk mental health trusts.

Aidan Thomas, who has been chief exectuive at Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust since 2009, has now been appointed as chief executive designate to lead the proposed merger.

Mr Thomas said: ''It is an honour to be leading the trusts through this exciting phase and I am looking forward to the coming months as we work toward a merger with Suffolk Mental Health Partnership Trust.

'The combined trust will bring best practice from each organisation, ensuring improvements in clinical care with greater choice for service users along with a more efficient and effective organisation.'

Mr Thomas thanked Suffolk Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust chief executive Mark Halladay for his strong support and looked forward to working collaboratively with him on the merger proposal. Mr Halladay, who initially proposed the merger, announced this week he would not pursue the Norwich-based role but would remain as chief executive at Suffolk until the merger date.

Mr Halladay said: 'Suffolk Mental Health services have come a long way in the last few years, but we knew we needed a partner in the longer term. I am delighted that Norfolk and Waveney have proved so true a partner in our merger talks. I know Aidan well and am delighted that both counties will have such grounded and experienced leadership once the merger is complete.'

Maggie Wheeler, chairman of the Norfolk trust, said the panel's decision to appoint Mr Thomas was unanimous.

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She said: 'I was pleased to receive positive comments from both the Norfolk and Suffolk interview panel representatives about his values and vision for the combined organisation. I know he will continue to provide strong leadership both through the next stage of the merger and in the task of forming one trust. This is will be no mean feat in the current climate of change and financial constraint and Mr Thomas has my total confidence.'