Suffolk Mental Health Partnership Trust has today announced that Aidan Thomas will provide leadership of the Trust as Acting Interim Chief Executive from Monday 14 March 2011 whilst maintaining his substantive role as Chief Executive of Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust.
Mark Halladay, the current Chief Executive of the Suffolk Mental Health Trust, will leave theorganisation at the end of March as previously agreed in the Trusts’ joint plans for a merger to create a new Foundation Trust for the area. This merger is the preferred option for both Trusts and the SHA but there remains a process to go through with Monitor, the regulator for Foundation Trusts, which will take longer than previously thought to make a decision.
The move follows the announcement in February that Mr Thomas would become the overallChief Executive when the two Trusts merge later this year.
The timing of Mr Thomas’ appointment assumed a 1 April merger date, but this has been put back in order for key regulators to have time to assess the application. The earliest date for the merger is now 1 July 2011. However, in order to maintain momentum and stability for the Trust Mr Thomas will be taking up his position in line with the original timetable. Current Suffolk Chief Executive Mark Halladay will provide handover support until the end of the month.
Suffolk Trust Chairman Lord Newton of Braintree said: “I agree that to bring as early a change as possible to the leadership of the Trust is in the best interests of our service users, staff and the people of Suffolk.
"I am extremely grateful to Mark for the approach he has taken, which reflects the service he has given to the Trust over seven years. His tenure has seen it go from financial difficulty to financial stability. We now look forward to the opening of our new mental health wards on the Ipswich Hospital site, which will be the most up-to-date mental health inpatient facilities in England. We have achieved the modernisation, with Suffolk County Council, of Learning Disability services throughout the county, while a survey of patient satisfaction rates us better than any other mental health trust in the East of England.
“As a result, we have a much stronger foundation on which to continue improving the quality of all our services. That will be a key task for the planned single Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. Like Mark, I have no doubt that the right course now is for the intended leadership to take that work forward.”
Mr Thomas, who has been the CEO at Norfolk since 2009, thanked Mark for his valuablecontribution to the merger process.
“I have been working closely with Mark in negotiating the merger and have found him to beextremely dedicated to improving mental health services in East Anglia,” he said.
“The merger was proposed by Mark and he has been instrumental in its progress to date. The Trusts will soon be in a position where we will be able to offer the staff of the combined Trust greater opportunities in terms of learning and development, and service users with increased choices for care subject to a final decision by regulators. This could not have been achieved without Mark’s valuable contribution.”
Notes for editors:Suffolk Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust works in partnership to provide mental healthservices to people in the county of Suffolk, with the exclusion of Waveney, and in the town of Thetford in Norfolk. It also provides substance misuse services and learning disability services to the county of Suffolk.
Its website is at www.smhp.nhs.uk. For a full breakdown of services and financial performance, see the Trust’s annual report online under ‘Information>Reports’