Posted on 1st April, 2009
Chairman Keith Portlock left the Trust at the end of March having served for eight years – to the day.
Keith says that he has seen an enormous amount of change across the NHS generally in that time, and particularly in the world of mental health and learning disability. “The changes are too numerous to list, but it is to the credit of our staff that they manage to carry on delivering high quality care in the midst of it all. I think perhaps the greatest single, positive change is the extent to which clinicians across all disciplines are now engaged in the running of the Trust,” he says. “When I arrived in 2001, my view of mental health services had, inevitably, been shaped largely by my experience in the police service. I had little real insight into the incidence of mental illness or of the scope and range of the services available across Devon. One of the most rewarding aspects of my role as Chairman has been to see first-hand the dedication with which the doctors, nurses and other professionals devote their expertise, often on a longterm basis, to help people under very difficult and frequently challenging circumstances.” Keith says that the high points in his eight years have, without doubt, been the comments, letters of appreciation and spontaneous thanks we receive from people who have used our services, their carers and families. He says his overriding impression of the Trust is of a progressive, well-managed, but under-funded, public service staffed by dedicated professionals striving to do all they can for the people of Devon. In terms of what’s next, Keith won’t be taking it easy. He will be working with a couple of local charities and has also been asked to do some work with the Learning Disability Future Options Project and will continue to support the On The Edge initiative. He will be undertaking further cycling adventures and striving to achieve his ultimate goal - to beat his wife at golf. A fond farewell from everyone at the Trust, Keith. The NHS Appointments Commission is expected to announce Keith’s successor shortly.