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Reaction to sudden departure of mental health boss days before CQC report

PUBLISHED: 19:00 21 November 2018 | UPDATED: 08:05 22 November 2018

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

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

NSFT

Campaigners have shared their views on the sudden resignation of a mental health trust chief – just days before a new inspection report is due to be published.

Healthwatch Suffolk's chief executive Andy Yacoub Picture: ARCHANTHealthwatch Suffolk's chief executive Andy Yacoub Picture: ARCHANT

Gary Page, chair of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), has left his post earlier than planned.

He was due to leave the trust early next year but decided to stand down early to “allow the new leadership team to drive forward improvement work”.

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 results. NSFT has twice been rated inadequate by the CQC.

“Given the forthcoming CQC inspection, we believe Gary Page’s departure was inevitable,” said a spokesman for the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Trust logo. Picture: Norfolk and Suffolk NHS TrustNorfolk and Suffolk NHS Trust logo. Picture: Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Trust

“However, given that he resisted our calls for his resignation after the mental health trust was put in special measures twice before, it is disappointing he has left his post just days before the publication of a third report, leaving patients, carers, staff and the NSFT board without leadership.”

Meanwhile, Healthwatch Suffolk chief executive Andy Yacoub pointed to concerns the organisation raised about the forthcoming CQC report earlier this month, adding he and his team are “completely in the dark” about the inspectors’ findings.

Mr Page, who left the trust with immediate effect on Tuesday, 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. 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.

“While 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.”

Current vice chair Tim Newcomb will step up as chair until a permanent one is appointed next month.

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