Nick Hulme to provide senior support to mental health transformation in Norfolk and Suffolk

27th September 2022

Nick Hulme, chief executive of East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), is to take on an additional role to provide short-term senior support to integrated care boards in Suffolk and North East Essex and in Norfolk and Waveney, and mental health provider Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT).

Nick has been involved in developing the mental health strategy in Suffolk for several years. In his new role, he will build on this experience to assist the ICBs, the trust and NHS England East of England in identifying and managing risks and barriers, and sharing learning and best practice.

He will also support the executive teams of the ICBs and the trust on specific issues including accelerating discharge of mental health patients from acute beds into appropriate community settings as part of the Norfolk & Waveney ICB winter plan.

Will Pope, Chair of NHS Suffolk and North East Essex, Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt, Chair of NHS Norfolk and Waveney and Zoe Billingham, Chair of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted that Nick has agreed to support us on this vital work and are very grateful to him and ESNEFT for enabling this to happen.

“Despite the huge efforts of dedicated frontline mental health staff, and the real improvements that have been made in some services, we have a long way to go before our mental health services reach the standard that all our residents are entitled to expect. The status quo is not an option. This is not just an issue about NSFT; it involves the whole health and care system including, crucially, the voluntary and community sector.

“We need to transform the way mental health and wellbeing support is provided, prioritising prevention, early intervention, support in the community in a crisis and rapid access to specialist services. Nick is passionate about improving outcomes for patients and combines this passion with a deep understanding of how to improve services.”

The chief executive and senior executive team of each ICB will lead on the development of a resilient community based mental health infrastructure for its own population, while the chief executive and senior executive team of NSFT will remain responsible for improvement and transformation of the Trust’s specialist services.

Alongside this transformational work, both ICBs will continue to support NSFT in urgently implementing the recommendations on safety and patient care made by the CQC and ensuring that specialist services are effectively coordinated with locally-managed mental health care.