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New chair replaces leader who quit after complaints row

Published on: 14 Apr 2023

A new chair has been appointed at a mental health trust which lost its previous chair following complaints about their behaviour.

Phil Gayle, who has been Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust’s interim chair since November, is now taking on the role permanently.

He replaces former chair Danielle Oum, who left shortly after a report commissioned by the trust upheld a number of complaints about her conduct.

Mr Gayle has served as a non-executive director since 2019, and is chief executive of Servol Community Services, a third sector organisation providing accommodation and support services to people with mental illnesses.

He is also a qualified counsellor, and has recently been appointed as an associate non-executive director at University Hospitals Birmingham FT.

Commenting on his appointment, he said: “I am very pleased to be the chair of BSMHFT. 

“I remain totally committed to making sure our staff are fully supported in their role and can enjoy an environment where they can flourish, thrive and have a positive experience whilst at work.”

News of Mr Gayle’s appointment comes as a Care Quality Commission reportmaintained the trust’s “requires improvement” rating.

Inspectors, who visited in October, November and December last year, also issued BSMHFT with a warning notice over staffing shortages which were of particular concern across its adult acute wards.

The report noted slow progress on removing ligature risks and completing required estates work, while staff on an acute ward were also not following ligature risk management plans. Meanwhile, staff on another ward were unable to safely operate new anti-barricade doors.

However, the CQC said, since its last inspection, a new chief executive (Roisin Fallon-Williams, who joined in 2019) had been appointed and a new board has been formed. This was helping the trust to develop a “clear strategy and vision, with leaders who are passionate about positive change and improvement”.

Lorraine Tedeschini, CQC’s Midlands operations director, said: “Understaffing was a big concern, and while many NHS services and those in the wider care sector face staffing challenges, the trust must find ways to minimise the risk this poses to people in its care.”

The trust has been asked to comment on the CQC inspection.