A new NHS mental health trust was formally established on April 1 2002, to serve the districts of Wakefield, Calderdale and Kirklees.

The South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust brings together mental health services previously run by the local authority areas of Wakefield, Calderdale and Kirklees. Services will be based around four inpatient sites in Dewsbury, Halifax, Huddersfield and Wakefield. The proposals to establish a new organisation, based strongly on views that organisational change was necessary to support the delivery of high quality services, were formally approved by the Secretary of State. Speaking about the new trust, health minister Jacqui Smith said, ”The new trust has an opportunity to take the best from three successful hospital trusts and to create a new organisation”.

The new trust will bring with it the opportunity to develop and expand upon the skill base of individual staff members through continuous personal and professional development. The trust will be able to recruit, develop, and retain a workforce that matches the targets set out in the National Service Framework for Mental Health, whilst strengthening approaches to Clinical Governance and raising standards.

The benefits for service users and carers are numerous, as the new trust will create the maximum opportunity for a wider range of services to be provided either in the locality or within the new joint boundaries. Service users will have access to a diverse range of services, specialities and expertise as well as being able to contribute to service development planning and decision making about future investments. Access to a Patients Forum and PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service), which focus entirely on the needs of people with mental health problems, will also be developed across all areas.

Ms Judith Young has been appointed as Chief Executive of the new Trust. Judith has an extensive background in local health services, starting her career as a clinical psychologist in Dewsbury. She was formally chief executive of Calderdale and Kirklees Health Authority.

The NHS Appointments Commission has appointed a Chairman and Chief Executive for the new trust, and they will take up their new positions on April 1st, the day the trust is formally established.

Mr Sukhdev Sharma, former chairman of Calderdale and Kirklees Health Authority, has been appointed as the chairman of the new trust. Mr Sharma, who lives in Halifax, has been awarded the CBE in recognition of services to community relations for more than 30 years.

On his appointment as chairman of the new trust, Mr Sharma said, ‘I am delighted to have the opportunity to help shape this new organisation to ensure that local people have access to high quality local mental health services. I am looking forward to working with a wide range of health and social care colleagues, patients, carers and members of the public, to develop the best services possible.’


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