Two chiefs from region’s failing mental health trust to step down

PUBLISHED: 17:57 18 October 2017 | UPDATED: 19:23 18 October 2017

Leigh Howlett, left, and Jane Sayer. Photo: Archant

Leigh Howlett, left, and Jane Sayer. Photo: Archant


Two executive directors have handed in their resignations at the region’s beleaguered mental health trust.

Leigh Howlett, director of strategy and resources, and Jane Sayer, director of nursing, quality and patient safety, are both stepping down, a spokesman for Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) confirmed.

It comes after former chief executive Michael Scott announced his retirement shortly before NSFT was branded inadequate by the Care Quality Commission.

And both Ms Howlett and Dr Sayer cited the findings of the report as the reason for their departure.

Both will fulfil their six-month notice periods working within the wider NHS.

Dr Sayer said: “It has been a privilege to work with the excellent staff at NSFT, and alongside the incredibly committed service users, carers and volunteers who all play their part in supporting and delivering caring services to thousands of local people every day.

“Although I am deeply saddened to be stepping down from my role, I believe it is the right thing to do following the recent CQC report. Clearly the quality of services remains a real challenge and there is much work to be done to drive that forward.”

Ms Howlett added: “When I read the CQC report my first concern was for the disappointment of our staff, who I know have worked incredibly hard, and for the service users and carers whose confidence in our services may have been affected.

“As an executive member of the board I have always been passionately committed to the success of this trust and to its positive future, and I fully believe that the colleagues I leave behind will achieve all of the improvements that need to be made for the benefit of local service users.”

NSFT’s new chief executive Julie Cave said: “On behalf of the board and the trust’s staff I would like to express our gratitude to Jane and Leigh for their hard work and for their unstinting dedication to mental health services.

“Both have led their teams with commitment, respect and dedication; and they have always been the complete embodiment of our trust’s values. There is no doubt that their integrity and professionalism will carry them on to a positive future.”

She said that NSFT would now take the time to rejuvenate the board’s membership.

“We remain committed to the job at hand; to continue to lead and support the delivery of the improvements we need to make, at pace,” she said.

“None of us underestimates the task ahead; it will be more hard work and more challenge. But, by continuing to work together effectively we will achieve what we are here to do – to provide safe, caring, responsive and effective mental health services to local people.

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