After 30 years of working in Kirklees public services, Dave Sharp is retiring from his post as general manager of the mental health directorate in North Kirklees for the South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust. Dave retires today (28 March).

Dave started work as a social worker for the old Dewsbury welfare department in 1973 before it merged with Kirklees Social Services in 1974. He obtained his CQSW (Certificate of Qualification in Social Work) at Leeds Polytechnic in 1980 and then specialised in mental health work. Apart from six months with Calderdale Social Services he spent the next 20 years with Kirklees as a social worker, principal social worker and unit manager.

He was based at Storthes Hall Hospital and later at the Priestley Unit at Dewsbury District Hospital. In April 2000 he joined the former Dewsbury Healthcare NHS Trust and became responsible for its Mental Health and Learning Disabilities services.

Dave played a major role in the development of mental health services integrated with the NHS in North Kirklees. These won national recognition resulting in Dave and his colleagues receiving the prestigious Nye Bevan award from the Prime Minister in 1999.

During his presentation, Judith Young, chief executive of the South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust, said, ‘We are here to celebrate a really good, long public service career, throughout which Dave has maintained a good sense of perspective and personal values during periods of great change’.

Reflecting on his career, Dave said, ‘When I look back to Storthes Hall and the 1000 or so patients who were there when I worked there, some patients never got reviewed as there was no systematic process. When you think of the services and opportunities that now exist for people with mental health problems, it’s fantastic, it has all certainly led to a massive change for the better’.

‘Over the years there have been many opportunities to influence change, and this will not stop. A profound moment for me has been the change management that led to joint management between health and social services and the excellent partnership working we see today, I look back at this and am delighted about it. I’ll miss all my colleagues but am looking forward to a different pace of life and a different focus’.

Dave was known for his commitment to his work and for his boundless energy. When he retires he hopes to spend more time indulging his passion for mountain walking.


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