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BREAKING NEWS: Two Norfolk and Suffolk mental health trust directors quit after inspection criticism

Julie Cave, chief executive of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
Julie Cave, chief executive of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

Two senior directors of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), which was put into special measures for a second time last week, have resigned tonight.

The decisions of Jane Sayer, the trust’s director of nursing, quality and patient safety, and Leigh Howlett, director of strategy and resources, were confirmed a short time ago.

Their departures come just three weeks after the former chief executive, Michael Scott, announced his retirement and only days after the trust was deemed inadequate by Care Quality Commission inspectors.

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.”

The trust says both will work their contracted six-month notice periods in the wider NHS and will not receive any lump sum payments.

That follows questions from mental health campaigners over whether any pay-off had been made to Mr Scott.

The trust’s new chief executive, Julie Cave, paid tribute to what she described as Dr Sayer and Ms Howlett’s “unstinting dedication” to mental health services.

She said: “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.

“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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