Secretary of State agrees Mental Health Services in Walsall and Dudley are ‘Better Together’ – 18/08/08

Health Secretary Alan Johnson has today announced his support for the establishment of the Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust.

The announcement comes after wide-ranging local consultation recognised support for the new Trust which will now see Mental Health Services in Dudley and Walsall provided by a single organisation.

The NHS Trust will be up and running from the 1st of October this year and will bring a range of benefits to Dudley and Walsall communities, including:

  • Care will be provided by an organisation which is solely focused on mental health. 
  • Expertise and best practice across Dudley and Walsall mental health and social care can be shared. 
  • The organisation has the potential to develop more specialist care in the Black Country, meaning that fewer patients would have to travel elsewhere for certain types of treatment. 
  • The Trust will be able to increase the involvement and influence of Service Users and Carers and further develop links with local, regional and national networks and organisations. 
  • Being a larger, specialist Trust, it will be able to offer greater opportunities for training, career development and research, enabling it to attract the highest quality staff. 
  • Being a stand-alone provider organisation, the Trust will be able to apply for ‘Foundation Trust’ status, in line with the national direction of travel for all NHS mental health services.

The NHS Appointments Commission has confirmed the appointment of Mr Glyn Shaw as Chair for the new Partnership Trust. Glyn, who has worked and lived in and around the Black Country for over twenty years, is married with three grown up children. Prior to retiring to become a carer for a disabled family member, he was Inland Revenue Area Director (Compliance) for Birmingham and Solihull. Until recently, Mr Shaw served as a Non-Executive Director for Dudley PCT. Mr Shaw has been appointed for a period of four years at the current remuneration rate of £18,164 per annum. All Chair appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. In accordance with the recommendations, any declared political activity by Non-Executive appointees should be made public. Mr Shaw has declared no political activity or affiliations within the last five years and does not hold any other Ministerial appointments.

Mr Shaw said “I am delighted with the Secretary of State’s announcement that a new Dudley & Walsall Mental Health Partnership Trust is to be set up. This is an exciting opportunity to strengthen local Mental Health and Social Care services for our communities in and around The Black Country and I look forward to working with colleagues in leading the new organisation.”

The NHS Appointments Commission have also appointed four of the five Non-Executive posts on the new Trust Board. Non-Executive Directors will receive a remuneration of £6005 per annum and will have been appointed for terms of either three or four years. The new non-Executive Directors who all reside in and around the Black Country area, are:

Ms Mandy Poonia has an extensive professional background, having worked in youth and community development, student welfare and has experience of developing innovative mental health services within the Black Country. Ms Poonia, who has been a Magistrate for 12 years, is also an active School Governor and is a Non-Executive Director of Wolverhampton YMCA. She has just completed an MA in Applied Mental Health. Ms Poonia has no political affiliations and has been appointed for a four-year term.

Mr Peter Hodnett is a professional engineer by background, having spent over 30 years working for British Telecom in UK and European posts. Mr Hodnett also spent 11 years as a self-employed consultant in the fields of telecommunications, recruitment and restructuring. Mr Hodnett, who is married with two grown-up daughters, has been a School Governor since 1976 and is currently Treasurer and Secretary of the voluntary group Diabetes UK (Stourbridge and Dudley branch). Mr Hodnett has no political affiliations and has been appointed for a three-year term.

Mr Michael Higgs has a very extensive professional background, encompassing commercial expertise and employment law. Until very recently, Mr Higgs was Global Deputy Chief Executive and Group Resources Director of an International Industrial Minerals group. Prior to this, Mr Higgs was Group Human Resources Director of an international retailer and before that, a Senior Employment Law and Employee Relations Consultant. Mr Higgs, who is married with three grown up children, is currently a Non-Executive Director of the Engineering Employers Federation (Western), Deputy Chairman of the WBB Final Salary Pension Scheme and Chairman of the Investment Committee. Mr Higgs has no political affiliations and has been appointed for a four-year term.

Mr Daniel Byles studied at the University of Leeds, following which he served for nine years as a Medical Support Officer in the Royal Army Medical Corps. Having played a key role in strategic medical workforce planning, Mr Byles left the army at the rank of Major in 2005. Mr Byles, who holds two ‘Guinness Book of World Record’ entries, is currently an Independent Consultant in the defence sector. He is married to a local General Practitioner and is the Founder and Trustee of the charity ‘Carpe Diem Trust’. Mr Byles is a prospective Conservative party parliamentary candidate for North Warwickshire. He has been appointed as a Non-Executive Director for a three-year term.

Mr Shaw said “The skills and experience of these people will benefit the new Trust immensely during this period of change and development’. The remaining non-Executive Director vacancy on the new Trust Board is currently being recruited.

Mr Shaw was also delighted to announce the appointment of Mr Gary Graham as Chief Executive for the new Mental Health Trust. The appointment process involved a wide range of local stakeholders, including Service Users and Carers, and both Dudley and Walsall MBCs were represented on the interview panel.

Mr Graham is currently Deputy Chief Executive of East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust and will be taking up his new post on 1st September. Mr Graham has enjoyed a wide professional background, having worked in senior posts in the NHS since 2003 and prior to that, having worked within human resources and organisational development within the commercial sector and the British Army.

Mr Graham said ‘I am delighted with the announcement and I am looking forward to start working for the new Trust. This is a really exciting time for Mental Health Services in Dudley and Walsall. We have a very professional and dedicated workforce and excellent partnerships with our local stakeholders. I am looking forward to working with people in Dudley and Walsall in ensuring that our services go from strength to strength.”