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Chief executive to leave failing NSFT mental heath trust

PUBLISHED: 16:44 18 March 2019 | UPDATED: 18:31 18 March 2019

Antek Lejk. Picture: NORFOLK AND SUFFOLK NHS FOUNDATION TRUST

Antek Lejk. Picture: NORFOLK AND SUFFOLK NHS FOUNDATION TRUST

Archant

The chief executive of Suffolk and Norfolk's failing mental health trust is moving on, it has been announced.

Antek Lejk took up the post of chief executive of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) in May last year having previously been chief officer of the South Norfolk and North Norfolk clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).

Mr Lejk is now set to leave the troubled mental health trust to take up a secondment with the East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT).

NSFT has been in crisis for at least five years and was rated ‘inadequate’ by health inspectors for a third time in November.

Mr Lejk said: “I believe that the Trust is at a key stage of its journey to improve the quality of its services.

“Whilst I fully support the Trust on that journey, it is my belief that it will benefit from a new vision and leadership and I fully support it on that journey.”

NSFT Chair Marie Gabriel said: “This is a great opportunity that draws on Antek’s proven experience of, and indeed success with, system working.

“After careful consideration, and given that Antek has managed to bring NSFT to a point where the green shoots of improvement are starting to show, he has decided to accept this offer.”

She added: “I want to take this opportunity to thank Antek for his hard work and dedication over what I know has been a challenging few months.

“We will be building upon the foundations he has laid to further improve the quality of services at the Trust to a standard that service users can and should expect.”

The NSFT’s board of directors is due to announce interim chief executive arrangements in the near future.

Ipswich MP Sandy Martin said; “I don’t think anybody has a clear enough view of everything that is needed to make the trust work.

“I include the secretary of state for health in that.

“It appears to me everyone in a decision making position is running around with alternative ways forward.

“I very much hope that mental health services in Suffolk will be delivered by a competent organisation at some stage in the very near future.
“For that to happen there will have to be an emergency injection of funds to employ the additional staff it takes to make these changes.
“Every time somebody leaves an organisation it still leaves a certain level of disruption.
“The NSFT has undergone multiple disruptions and desperately needs some effectiveness and stability now.

“It needs emergency support and I think additional management support to get to the stage its meant to be.

“In the meantime it’s the people of Suffolk who mental health will be affected.”

Liberal Democrat MP for North Norfolk Norman Lamb said there needed to be more transparency over what arrangements are in place to find a replacement.

“There needs to be some openness and clarity, particularly for patients who have too often been let down in recent years and staff need clarity for the future,” he said.

Mr Lamb said he was not surprised after hearing the news, and said: “The rating of inadequate remained under his stewardship, it was inevitable that this going to raise questions.

“And there are far more questions than answers - what are the arrangements for pay, for example? The public has the right to now about it.”

He added: “There is clearly a need for real effective, inspiring leadership.”

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