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New chief nurse to help try and improve Norfolk and Suffolk mental health provider

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Diane Hull has been appointed as the new chief nurse at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, with a brief to help improve the mental health provider.

Since October 2017, the trust has been rated as “inadequate” by the Care Quality Commission and was previously in special measures. Jane Sayer, the trust’s former director of nursing, quality and patient safety, stepped down in the wake of the inadequate rating. 

“We can’t start being creative and finding innovative ways of working to benefit service users”

Diane Hull

Ms Hull will join Norfolk and Suffolk later this year from her current role at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

She is credited with playing an instrumental role in supporting Sussex Partnership move from an overall CQC rating of “requires improvement” to “good”. It is rated “outstanding” for being caring.

She has also previously held several senior roles at East London NHS Foundation Trust and has nearly 30 years’ experience of working in the NHS.

At Norfolk and Suffolk, she will be responsible for improving safety and the experience that service users have when accessing care, noted the trust.

“She played a vital role in driving through improvements in her current position”

Antek Ljek

In addition, she will have the role of “enhancing” the way learning is shared across the trust when incidents occur and help to address vacancies in the nursing workforce.

Ms Hull said: “Everyone I’ve met so far has been warm and engaging, and really want to make things better for service users, carers and staff.

“I am completely patient-focused and want to hear from as many different patient groups, carers, staff and communities as possible so that we can really understand what they feel we are doing well and where we could further improve,” she said.

“Another priority for me will be giving people confidence in our services,” she said. “It is difficult enough when you are struggling with your mental health, but must be even more challenging if you don’t feel assured about the services you are receiving because of the CQC rating.

“It will also be vitally important for us to make sure our services are safe – until that happens, we can’t start being creative and finding innovative ways of working to benefit service users,” she said.

“All trusts are also facing a real problem with recruitment and retention,” said Ms Hull. “We need to make sure we are offering something really exciting which enthuses people.”

She said: “Most importantly, we also need to look after our existing staff, make sure we truly value them and show them the appreciation they deserve for their dedication to what, at times, can be a difficult job.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

Diane Hull

Diane Hull

“I’m realistic and recognise that there will be challenges ahead as well as opportunities, but am looking forward to cracking on and helping create the right conditions and culture,” she added.

Trust chief executive Antek Ljek said: “We are delighted that Diane will be joining us as our chief nurse.

“She brings with her a wealth of leadership experience and played a vital role in driving through improvements in her current position,” he said.

He added: “Her recruitment brings our executive team up to full strength and we look forward to welcoming her later in the year and focusing on making the long-term, sustainable changes which will make a real difference to our service users and their carers.”

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