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London trust chief exec and nurse named new NHS mental health director

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The chief executive of a prominent integrated London mental health provider has been appointed as the new NHS national mental health director.

Claire Murdoch is chief executive of Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust and also a registered mental health nurse.

“I can’t remember a time of either greater challenge or opportunity”

Claire Murdoch

In her new national role, she will help to implement recommendations from a recent major report on improving mental health services.

NHS England’s independent mental health taskforce, chaired by Mind chief executive Paul Farmer, published its report earlier this year.

It criticised the NHS for its “inadequate” mental health services, despite a range of government initiatives to try and improve them in recent years and laid out 58 recommendations for improvements by 2020.

Ms Murdoch’s trust is one of the largest integrated community and mental health trusts in the country, with services that provide physical, palliative, mental health, learning disability, sexual health and prison care.

She will undertake her new national role on secondment from Central and North West London, where she will remain chief executive.

Ms Murdoch said: “There’s an important vision set out in the taskforce report and I look forward to working with Paul Farmer and others on implementation.

Referring to the chief executive of NHS England, she added: “I have seen great commitment from Simon Stevens for better mental health, so this is the right time to work with him and my first-class colleagues at NHS England to deliver improvements.

Simon Stevens

Simon Stevens

Simon Stevens

“I have lived through one revolution in mental health care, when the old asylums closed and have been privileged to be part of many advances since that time,” Ms Murdoch noted

“It’s now time to press ahead with the next generation of improvement. I can’t remember a time of either greater challenge or opportunity. This is both a little daunting and very exciting,” she said.

Mr Stevens said: “Having now developed clear and widely supported strategies for improving mental health, cancer, learning disabilities and other key services, in 2016-17 NHS England’s focus is now shifting to their practical implementation and delivery.

“Claire’s appointment – as one of the most respected and seasoned operational leaders in mental health – creates exactly the right energy and drive to kick start this process.”

Ms Murdoch is also a director of Imperial Academic Health Science Partnership, a non-executive director at the north-west London branch of Health Education England, and chair of the Cavendish Square Group, which brings together the 10 London mental health providers.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • The pin stripe & rainbow necklace says it all! - awaiting further cost cutting for mental health. Why aren't you at the top getting it? - there are those of us who understand your language of American pushed 'improvement' and it won't work and you won't silence people who say different. It just shows you're all getting more desperate with top heavy self recognised leaders - a classic sign of cost cutting. Jeremy Hunt (failed jam maker) and Simon Steven (AKA the porter) your understanding of balance in care is so floored and not based on fluid foundation only static nonsense its why you're going to lose.

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  • I don't understand why they have to look so corporate and hard faced? I mean in reality what we need is some one asking these big wigs the hard questions not giving those who provide care an even harder time. In reality we are all know it that we are being ruled by a fallen empire of NHS Management and a government of loss and stupidity. All that is left to say is it won't take much to topple NHS Management as is said it only takes one to start an avalanche. All these tzars and NHS Improvement are parasitical vestigages of a bygone NHS Management age protecting themselves. We should all be hopeful knowing it would be so easy to topple them and with time it will happen. The strikes bring us all hope and I can only hope it spreads to nurses and we can put management and the NMC back in their place. Don't lose hope people. These fools at the top hate free thinking and ideals that don't follow corporate nonsense. These high flyers are toxic.

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