Mental Health and Learning Disability Services for Devon

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The Trust Board of Directors

Chief Executive - Melanie Walker

Melanie Walker joined the Trust in April 2014. A nurse by background, Melanie has worked at all levels and in all settings in the NHS. She has a long history of working in mental health services and has also been a commissioner. Melanie was formerly Chief Executive of Newham Primary Care Trust and comes to us from her role as Chief Executive of The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust in Harlow, Essex.

Chair - Julie Dent CBE

Julie Dent joined the Trust in March 2013. She was previously Chair of Torbay and Southern Devon Health and Care NHS Trust, Chief Executive of South West London Strategic Health Authority and Chair of the London Probation Trust. Julie received the CBE in 2005 for services to the NHS.

Deputy Chief Executive / Director of Operations - Liz Davenport

Liz Davenport was appointed to the Trust Board in November 2003 as Director of Operations. She joined the National Health Service as an Occupational Therapist in 1986 and has worked in a number of mental health settings across the country.

Director of Finance - Sarah Brampton

Sarah Brampton was appointed Director of Finance in March 2013. Sarah returned to the Trust, after a period of four years, from Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust where she was Director of Financial Services. She has over 17 years' healthcare experience and has worked within all sectors of the NHS, including acute, mental health and commissioning. Sarah's role includes overseeing Estates and Information Management & Technology.

Co Medical Directors - Dr David Somerfield and Dr Helen Smith

David came to South Devon in July 1999 joining the Trust when it was created three years later. He was appointed as the Trust's Medical Director in April 2006 having worked for the last four years as the lead clinician for South and West Devon. Previously, David was a lecturer in old age psychiatry at the University of Bristol and a senior registrar, also in Bristol, prior to moving to Devon. David is the Trust's Caldicott Guardian.

Helen was appointed Co Medical Director in April 2010 and is also Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist in our forensic service.  She has over ten years' experience working in the healthcare sector. Previous positions held include Lecturer in Forensic Psychiatry, Birmingham University and Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist and Honorary Senior Lecturer, West Midlands forensic service. Helen is the lead for the Trust's Quality Improvement Academy and is the Clinical Lead for Listening into Action.

Interim Director of Nursing and Practice - Vanessa Ford

Vanessa assumed the role of Interim Director of Nursing and Quality Assurance in September 2013 having held the post of Deputy Director of Nursing and Practice and Head of Nursing and Practice (Adult Services) since October 2010. She commenced her career as a staff nurse in an NHS trust in London. Following a number of senior posts in other NHS trusts and the private sector, she joined Devon Partnership NHS Trust in 2007 and worked within our eating disorder, gender dysphoria and perinatal services. Complaints, Risk Management and Quality Governance are all within Vanessa's portfolio.

Director of Compliance and Corporate Development - Anne Forbes

Anne joined the Trust in December 2005. She is a qualified accountant with both NHS and private sector experience within finance, performance management and governance. She has a focus on corporate development, performance management, Mental Health/Capacity Acts and governance. In addition to this, Anne has responsibility for leading the Trust’s application to becoming an NHS Foundation Trust and is responsible for Trust resilience. 

Director of Research and Development - Dr Peter Aitken

Dr Peter Aitken trained as a general practitioner specialising in liaison psychiatry before being appointed as a Consultant in Liaison Psychiatry and Senior Lecturer in Medical Education at St George's Hospital Medical School in 1999. Peter joined the Trust in January 2003 and became the Director of Research and Development in May 2004.

Director of Workforce and Organisational Development - Martin Ringrose

Martin joined the Trust on 1 June 2010 as the Trust's Director of Workforce and Organisational Development. Martin has 30 years experience of dealing with workforce issues in the NHS and the last 17 years has been an HR Director at a number of NHS Trusts across the country, including Worcester, Leicestershire, Plymouth, South Hams and West Devon and since 2005 at Torbay Care Trust. Martin's role encompasses Equality & Diversity, Health & Safety and security management.

Non-executive Director - Ray O’Connell

Ray O’Connell is a highly qualified professional in finance and commerce with extensive experience in banking, management and business planning and is also a Trustee for the Almeida Theatre in London.

Non-executive Director - Liz Childs

Liz joined the Trust as a Non-Executive Director in April 2013, having previously been Director of Nursing and Deputy Chief Executive at South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, a post she held for 13 years. She is a registered general and children's nurse with a wide range of clinical experience, predominantly in London hospitals. She was formerly Faculty lead on the South West Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Programme. Liz has a special interest in patient/user experience, staff experience, safety improvement and governance and is the Trust's Non-Executive lead for staff and user engagement.

Non-executive Director - Liz Sands

Liz joined the Trust as a Non-Executive Director in March 2013, having previously held a variety of directorships and senior leadership roles, most recently as Head of Organisation and Transformation at AT Kearney. Liz's special interests include strategic planning, leadership and organisational culture. 

Non-executive Director - Mary Moore

Mary took up her role as a Non-Executive Director of the Trust in April 2014. She has held a number of senior roles previously, including Chief Executive and Lead Partner of Sheppard Moscow Asia Pacific and was most recently the Manager and Principal Psychologist of Manpower Services Commission. Her particular interests are in developing and leading healthy and productive organisations and in enabling sustainable systemic change.

Non-executive Director - Dr Jon Andrewes

Jon has had extensive leadership experience in managing large private and third sector organisations including establishing the government’s first successful single regeneration trust and leading the Groundwork South West environmental regeneration company. During the last five years, he has chaired Brixham 21, a public interest company established to promote regeneration opportunities in the Brixham community, and became Chair of the Torbay and Southern Devon Health and Care NHS Trust in February 2013. Jon is also Chief Executive Officer of St Margaret’s Somerset Hospice, where he has pioneered the importance of providing services to meet patient choice for their preferred place of care. Jon joined us in May 2014 as a non-executive director.


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