Our board

Devon Partnership NHS Trust Chair Julie DentChair

Julie Dent

Julie joined the Trust, as Chair, in March 2013 and was reappointed in 2017 for a further two year term, until 2019.

Julie has plenty of experience leading and managing change, having chaired Torbay NHS Care Trust from 2009 until  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.

Chief Executive

Melanie Walker

Melanie was appointed Chief Executive in 2014. 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.

Melanie received an MBE in 2019 for services to the NHS.

You can follow Melanie on Twitter: @DPT_ChiefExec

Non-executive Directors

Non-executive Director

Martin Beaman

Martin is a Physician by background and has 40 years of NHS experience having originally trained in London. He was a Consultant Renal Physician at the RD&E for over 20 years and the Post Graduate Dean for Medical Education across the South West for many years before retiring at Easter 2019. He brings experience of both board level and clinical management and has an MBA in Health Executive Management. He also has an interest in clinical governance and patient safety and chairs the Quality and Safety Committee. Martin joined us as a Non-executive Director in July 2019.

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.



Non-executive Director

Ian Turner

Ian Turner is a Chartered Accountant and retired as a partner from the Accounting and Professional Services firm, KPMG in 2003. He has since worked in a number of organisations in a Non-executive Director, Executive,Trustee and advisory capacity.

Between 2007 and 2017 he was a Non-executive Director at Weston Area Health NHS Trust, where he spent time as Chair of the Audit Committee and as Vice Chair. He is currently Deputy Chief Executive and Finance Director of the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) which represents Finance Professionals within the NHS. He is also a Trustee and Chair of Audit and Finance of RICE, a Charity researching into the Care of the Elderly; the Healthcare Supply Association (HCSA), a membership organisation for procurement professionals in the NHS, and Brunelcare – a Bristol-based housing association and social care charity. 

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 on 1 July 2018.


Executive Directors

Devon Partnership NHS Trust Chief Operating Officer Dr David Somerfield

Medical Director

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 in 2018 has been appointed, once again, to the Medical Director role.

David continues to work clinically and is also our Caldicott Guardian. 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

Director of Nursing and Professions

Chris Burford

Chris first joined the Trust in 2002 as locality operations manager for Teignbridge, moving on to other Trust operational roles in Exeter in 2007 before becoming managing partner for the newly formed Adult Directorate in 2010. In 2016 he was appointed Deputy Director of Nursing and Interim Director of Nursing and Practice in April 2019.

Chris has held a number of senior operational and nursing roles throughout his 37 year NHS career in London and the South West, originally trained as a general nurse in Cheltenham and later mental health nurse in London.

Chris' special interests include learning from people's experiences of our mental health services and engaging people, families and staff in everything that we do.

He is a qualified management coach and has a keen interest in staff leadership and  development programmes. He is a specialist mental health advisor to Care Quality Commission.

Chief Operating Officer and Director of Workforce

Susan Smith

Susan joined the Trust in March 2015 as Managing Partner for Secure Services, before being appointed Deputy Chief Operating Officer in 2017, Interim Chief Operating Officer in 2018 and Chief Operating Officer in February 2019. Sue also is the Director of Workforce.

Susan originally trained in the Midlands and has held various senior roles, leading operations and transformation across the East and West Midlands with more than 30 years' experience working within health and local government.

Susan’s previous post before commencing with the Trust was as Deputy Director of Integrated Commissioning for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 


Director of Finance and Strategy

Phill Mantay

Phill Mantay joined us as Director of Transformation and was appointed as Director of Strategy and Business Development and Interim Director of Finance in February 2019.  He has worked in the NHS in the South West since 2001, has a professional background in finance and has held a Board Director portfolio of transformation for the past few years. In this role Phill holds a portfolio responsibility for business development, strategy and partnerships and is the Senior Information Risk Owner for the organisation.


Director of Research and Development and Medical Education

Dr Peter Aitken

Devon Partnership NHS Trust Director of Research and Development 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. Peter is a non-voting member of the Board.

You can follow Peter on Twitter: @DrP8tken