'A tremendous force of positive change' - Sir Norman Lamb to head mental health trust
PUBLISHED: 16:10 17 December 2019 | UPDATED: 16:10 17 December 2019
Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk
Sir Norman Lamb is to lead a major London mental health trust.
Sir Norman, who has just stood down as North Norfolk MP, will take up the role of chairman of the South London and Maudsley Foundation Trust.
The 62-year-old said his chairmanship did not start until March, which would give him time to "recharge his batteries".
He said of his appointment: "I'm delighted and really excited by it. Stepping down from parliament was a big decision and I wanted to focus on mental health in the future.
"This is probably the most prestigious mental health trust in the country serving a disadvantaged part of London, so there are massive challenges that it faces.
"It's a fascinating and exciting organisation to be part of."
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Sir Norman, who lives in Norwich with his wife Mary, added: "I am really looking forward to meeting staff at all levels, those involved in brilliant world class research and those with lived experience and their families. I want to get to know the trust and the people who commit their working lives to supporting others."
Sir Norman has long worked to challenge the stigma around mental health and to ensure people with mental health issues are treated with the same priority as patients with physical health needs.
He launched a Future in Mind initiative to improve children's mental health services when he was care minister in the coalition government in 2015.
He also introduced the first access and waiting time standards for the treatment of mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.
He was knighted in the 2019 Queen's Birthday honours, largely for his mental health advocacy.
David Bradley, the trust's chief executive, said: "Sir Norman brings with him a wealth of experience in healthcare and a deep commitment to improving the lives of people with mental illness. I know he will be a tremendous force of positive change for the people of south London."
Jenny Cobley, lead governor at the trust, said: "This appointment is wonderful news for everyone with an interest in the future success of the trust and will support the trust board to deliver its ambitious strategy which is to improve the lives of the people with mental health conditions and the communities we serve in south-east London."