An MP has called for future stability within the county's mental health trust and a patient has said the service is "not good enough" as the fifth chief executive in as many years has resigned.

Stuart Richardson is set to depart from his role as chief executive of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) at the end of October.

Mr Richardson took over the role in September 2021, having joined the trust three years before as chief operating officer.

East Anglian Daily Times: Stuart Richardson, who has resigned from his chief executive role at NSFTStuart Richardson, who has resigned from his chief executive role at NSFT (Image: NSFT)

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter, who also works as a mental health doctor, praised Mr Richardson's work in the role, but said future stability is now needed.

"I think we should be grateful to Stuart for what he has done during his period as chief executive," he said.

"He came in when the Trust was in special measures and has overseen it as a lot of changes have been made.

"There is a new chair, medical director, and other important posts - and he has prepared it to make progress in the future.

East Anglian Daily Times: Dan Poulter, Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MPDan Poulter, Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP (Image: Sarah Lucy Brown, Newsquest)

"It is a high-pressure job and the average time for NHS chiefs to stay in post is about two to three years. 

"Having said that what is now needed is a long-term appointment who can guide the trust on its new course and provide a level of stability over the years ahead."

Mr Richardson leaves a few months after a report found more than 8,000 'unexpected deaths' among the trust's patients over the course of just three years.

Ivan Ambrose, 39, of Ipswich, who has autism and mental health issues, said he feels there is a "deep crisis" within the trust.

"The crisis has become even deeper with the announcement of the resignation of Stuart Richardson as chief executive of the mental health trust in Norfolk and Suffolk," he said.

"We are now on our fifth chief executive of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust in just five years. This is not good enough.

"The appalling number of deaths of patients under the care of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is frightening.

"There must be an urgent investigation, as well as a public inquiry into the deaths and all of the failures of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust."

East Anglian Daily Times: Ivan Ambrose with his mother, JayneIvan Ambrose with his mother, Jayne (Image: Newsquest)

Mr Ambrose said his MP Tom Hunt had said he would contact Mr Richardson about his concerns over his care as an autistic patient, but he has heard nothing back.

"I need to know where I am with this, particularly now that Stuart Richardson has resigned." he said.

"Many autistic patients cannot speak out, so I am speaking out for them too."

Zoë Billingham, chairman of NSFT, said of Mr Richardso's resignation: “Stuart has led and delivered a number of significant improvements during his tenure over the past five years as both chief executive and chief operating officer.

"On behalf of the trust board, I’d like to pay tribute to his commitment and dedication to improving NSFT for our service users and our staff.

"His focus on ensuring staff are looked after and valued will be a lasting legacy we are all very grateful for.

"We wish him every continued success in the future.”

Stuart Richardson will leave his role as chief executive by the end of October.

 The trust said interim arrangements will be put in place and announced as soon as possible.