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Campaigning MP to chair foundation trust

Published on: 20 Sep 2022

A long-serving Labour MP is leaving the Commons after 17 years and will join a mental health trust as its chair, HSJ can reveal.

Rosie Cooper, MP for West Lancashire since 2005, has accepted the role at Mersey Care Foundation Trust after what she described as a “considerable period of soul searching and reflection”.

The politician was born in Liverpool and held NHS board roles in the city’s NHS, including as chair of Liverpool Women’s Hospital, in the 1990s, before becoming an MP.

In 2017, she found herself at the centre of a neo-Nazi terror plot, which saw a 23-year-old man jailed for plotting her murder.

Now, she will be replacing the Liverpool-based trust’s current chair Beatrice Fraenkel when her term ends next month.

Ms Cooper has been an active campaigner on NHS issues across her region, especially in Merseyside, including in recent years the care scandal at Liverpool Community Trust.

She has also highlighted senior NHS managers whom she believes have failed, and been seen as a controversial figure in parts of the health service.

In a statement, the MP said it has been an “incredible honour and privilege” to serve the people of West Lancashire for the past 17 years.

She added: “I have loved every minute, even in the most difficult times.

“The decision to apply for the role of chairman of Mersey Care was taken after a considerable period of soul searching and reflection. The events I have faced over the last few years are well documented and undoubtedly have taken their toll.

“The NHS is one of my passions. Prior to entering Parliament, I had dedicated many years of service to the NHS and have been able to serve on the health and social care select committee during my time as MP. I hope my experience can help make a real difference to all of Mersey Care’s population, which includes some of the most vulnerable members of our society.”

Ms Cooper said she recognises challenges the NHS is facing and that she shares a “clear vision” with Mersey Care to achieve the highest standard of care within a “culture of improvement and patient-centered decision making”.

She added: “The former Liverpool Community Health Trust failings and independent reviews showed that across the NHS there needs to be a clear focus on setting a strong culture throughout an organisation that drives quality in healthcare.

“I look forward to working with the trust to continue to meet those challenges, especially given the rapid growth in demand for mental health and physical community health services.”

The mental health trust which serves Lancashire, Lancashire and South Cumbria FT, has struggled with care standards and finances in recent years, and its CEO recently quit amid a row apparently over funding.