Our board

Devon Partnership NHS Trust Chair Julie DentChair

Julie Dent

"I was delighted to be reappointed as Chair of Devon Partnership NHS Trust for a further two year term until 2019. I believe, as an organisation, we are in a very strong position to help influence the health and social care agenda in Devon."

Julie joined the Trust in March 2013. She was previously Chair of Torbay and Southern Devon Health and Care NHS Trust, Chief Executive of South West London Strategic Health Authority and Chair of the London Probation Trust. Julie received the CBE in 2005 for services to the NHS.


Devon Partnership NHS Trust Chief Executive Melanie WalkerChief Executive

Melanie Walker
"I am extremely proud to be Chief Executive of Devon Partnership NHS Trust. I have seen such positive progress across our organisation since I joined in 2014 and I thank all our staff for their contribution and many achievements at a regional and national level.  I know that we can realise our mission to become a recognised centre of excellence in the field of mental health and learning disability within the next five years."

A nurse by background, Melanie has worked at all levels and in all settings in the NHS. She has a long history of working in mental health services and has also been a commissioner. Melanie was formerly Chief Executive of Newham Primary Care Trust and came to us from her role as Chief Executive of The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust in Harlow, Essex.

Melanie is a trustee and board member for NHS Providers, representing mental health trusts across the country.

You can follow Melanie on Twitter: @DPT_ChiefExec

Non-executive Directors

Devon Partnership NHS Trust Non-executive Director Liz ChildsNon-executive Director and Deputy Chair 

Liz Childs

Liz joined the Trust as a Non-executive Director in April 2013, having previously been Director of Nursing and Deputy Chief Executive at South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, a post she held for 13 years. She is a registered general and children's nurse with a wide range of clinical experience, predominantly in London hospitals. She was formerly Faculty lead on the South West Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Programme. Liz has a special interest in patient/user experience, staff experience, safety improvement and governance and is the Trust's Non-executive lead for staff and user engagement.


Non-executive Director

David Gebbie

David is a corporate lawyer with more than 25 years' of experience in private practice and industry.

He has significant board-level experience in a number of executive and non-executive roles and particular experience in commissioning the provision and procurement of services and contract management. David joined us as a Non-executive Director on 1 December 2016.


Devon Partnership NHS Trust Non-executive Director Gerry Marshall


Non-executive Director

Gerry Marshall

Gerry previously had a career in the National Probation Service, and was Chief Executive of Thames Valley Probation Trust and the Probation Chiefs' Association lead for Restorative Justice and Diversity and Equality. Gerry is Chair of trustees of Circles UK, a trustee of the Howard League for Penal Reform and an adviser to the Desmond Tutu Foundation. He is a national assessor for the Restorative Services Quality Mark and works as a criminal justice consultant. Gerry took up his post as a Non-executive Director on 1 December 2016.


Devon Partnership NHS Trust Non-executive Director Mary MooreNon-executive Director

Mary Moore

Mary took up her role as a Non-executive Director of the Trust in April 2014. She has held a number of senior roles previously, including Chief Executive and Lead Partner of Sheppard Moscow Asia Pacific and was most recently the Manager and Principal Psychologist of Manpower Services Commission. Her particular interests are in developing and leading healthy and productive organisations and in enabling sustainable systemic change.


Associate Non-executive Director

Robin Aitken

Robin is a chartered accountant and experienced finance director. After qualifying, he started his career in industry with 7 years at the BBC. Since leaving there, he has spent 20 years as a finance director and adviser to a variety of start-ups and growing businesses, helping them build effective finance functions and raise funding. He is also a visiting lecturer at the School of Management at the University of Bath. Robin joined us as an associate Non-Executive Director in 1 July 2018.


Executive Directors

Devon Partnership NHS Trust Director of Finance Sarah BramptonDeputy Chief Executive and Director of Finance

Sarah Brampton

Sarah was appointed Director of Finance in March 2013 and Deputy Chief Executive in 2016. Sarah returned to the Trust, after a period of four years, from Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust where she was Director of Financial Services. She has over 20 years' healthcare experience and has worked within all sectors of the NHS, including acute, mental health and commissioning. Sarah's role includes overseeing Finance, Performance, Estates and Information Management & Technology. 

You can follow Sarah on Twitter: @SarahBrampton


Devon Partnership NHS Trust Chief Operating Officer Dr David Somerfield

Chief Operating Officer

Dr David Somerfield

David was appointed as a Consultant Psychiatrist in South Devon in July 1999, joining the Trust when it was created three years later. He became the Trust's Medical Director in April 2006, then Co-Medical Director in April 2010. David was subsequently appointed as Chief Operating Officer in 2014 and continues to work clinically. Previously, David was a lecturer in old age psychiatry at the University of Bristol and a senior registrar, also in Bristol, prior to moving to Devon. 

You can follow David on Twitter: @d_medical


Devon Partnership NHS Trust Medical Director Dr Helen SmithMedical Director

Dr Helen Smith

Helen was appointed Co-Medical Director in April 2010, becoming Medical Director in 2015. She is also Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist in our forensic service and has over ten years' experience working in the healthcare sector. Previous positions held include Lecturer in Forensic Psychiatry, Birmingham University and Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist and Honorary Senior Lecturer, West Midlands forensic service. Helen is the lead for the Trust's Quality Improvement Academy, as well as the Trust's Caldicott Guardian.

You can follow Helen on Twitter: @HSmithsafety


Devon Partnership NHS Trust Director of Nursing and Practice Paul Keedwell

Director of Nursing and Practice

Paul Keedwell

Paul joined the Trust in January 2015 and has a broad portfolio which includes responsibility for nursing, quality, risk management, safeguarding, practice development, patient experience and involvement, Mental Health Act and Mental Capacity Act, safeguarding, infection prevention and control. Paul originally trained in Devon as a Psychiatric Health Nurse before moving to Essex. He was previously Director of Operations and Nursing at North Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust.

Paul's special interests include nurse education, service development, aggression and violence management and developing new clinical roles. He is a keen advocate of the Associate Practitioner role and has experience in profiling these into integrated care pathways and teams. Paul was appointed as a visiting professor at Essex University for his work in developing both pre-registration training and research and was appointed as an Honorary Professor of the University of Exeter. He is also a director of a mental health charity in India - Shant Manas, which means 'peaceful mind' in Hindi.

You can follow Paul on Twitter: @PaulKeedwell

Devon Partnership NHS Trust Director of Research and Development Dr Peter Aitken

Director of Research and Development and Medical Education

Dr Peter Aitken

Dr Peter Aitken trained as a general practitioner specialising in liaison psychiatry before being appointed as a Consultant in Liaison Psychiatry and Senior Lecturer in Medical Education at St George's Hospital Medical School in 1999.

Peter joined the Trust in January 2003 and became the Director of Research and Development in May 2004.

You can follow Peter on Twitter: @DrP8tken


Also working with our Board

Phillip Mantay has joined us as Director of Transformation (interim), on secondment from Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, to provide additional support on the mental health element of Devon’s Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), as well as leadership in other areas of strategy and development.  

Fiona Barr has joined us on a temporary basis and is working closely with the Board and Executive Team on a number of projects related to corporate governance, systems and processes.