It was perhaps inevitable, after working as the architect of the radical redesign at Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) which has truly transformed mental health services in Norfolk and Suffolk, that Kathy Chapman would attract attention on a national level.
Chapman managed to brilliantly estimate referrals levels for redesigned services with robust performance data readily available, particularly from the innovative Access & Assessment team. Chapman neither broke her promise not to close beds until they were no longer needed nor allowed any obsession with clustering and payment by results to cloud clinical priorities.
What’s more, she robustly negotiated with commissioners, never overpromising ‘improvements’ from cut budgets, and achieved remarkable results in the NHS Staff Survey as a result of superior organisational and workforce planning. The millions that NSFT spent on voluntary redundancies and at private hospitals nationwide was an investment. The enhanced crisis team is her lasting legacy.
NSFT’s sad loss is NHS England’s tremendous gain. Geraldine Strathdee, National Clinical Director for mental health, must have been overwhelmed at interview by Chapman’s interpersonal skills and track record. Chapman can now, deservedly, work her magic on a national stage. We are truly sorry to see her leave.
I am writing to tell you of some important changes at Executive Director level.
Kathy Chapman is to undertake a one year secondment to work with Geraldine Strathdee, the National Clinical Director for mental health. This is an exciting and prestigious opportunity for Kathy which will also support important work in NSFT. Kathy will start as Programme Manager for the Mental Health programme on 28th July.
In Kathy’s absence, I will be asking for applications, to cover the Director of Operations Norfolk and Waveney post. The post will be filled on a fixed term 12 month basis. Expressions of interest will be invited from individuals holding substantive Band 9 posts in the first instance.
At the same time, Debbie White will conclude her secondment to Suffolk and return to Norfolk at the end of July. I will therefore also begin a process for the appointment of Operations Director, Suffolk. This will be a substantive appointment and details of the selection process will be announced in due course. In order to ensure that the progress made by Debbie and the Senior team continues a short term interim appointment will be made.
I am sure you will all join me in thanking both Kathy and Debbie for their hard work in these posts.