A chief executive has been named for a new community and mental health trust in the south of England ahead of its planned formation next year.
Ron Shields, who is currently Southern Health Foundation Trust CEO, will lead the new trust. The organisation will involve Southern Health merging with neighbouring Solent Trust and taking on responsibility for the community and mental health services currently provided by Isle of Wight Trust and Sussex Partnership Trust in Hampshire.
Current Southern Health chair Lynne Hunt has been named as the new trust’s chair.
Ron Shields said: “I am really excited with this opportunity to lead a new integrated healthcare organisation for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. The strength of the services in all four organisations is a fabulous foundation from which to build, in partnership, the very best approaches to health and care in all of the communities we serve.”
Mr Shields has led Southern since 2020. Solent’s current CEO is Andrew Strevens, who took on the role as acting CEO in February 2022 and became substantive chief in April that year.
While Hampshire and Isle of Wight integrated care board has said the intention is for the new trust – currently known as Project Fusion – to feel like a “new” organisation, it will legally involve FT Southern acquiring Solent.
Sources have previously told HSJ Project Fusion was feared to be simply a “takeover” by Southern Health of its better-performing neighbours.
Southern Health is rated “requires improvement” by the Care Quality Commission and was the subject of an inquiry into care failings in the cases of five patient deaths between 2011 and 2015.
Hampshire and Isle of Wight ICB has acknowledged the new trust will need a “new culture and common set of values”.
In the strategic case for Project Fusion, published in February, the ICB said the process of forming the new trust “must enable everyone to feel that we are genuinely creating a partnership of equals, which recognises and builds on each other’s strengths to create a new and exciting future”.