Farewell from Paul Burstow, outgoing Trust Chair

After six and a half years as Board Chair of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, my term of office is coming to an end in April, and we are recruiting a new Chair. It has been a privilege to lead the Board and work with such a dedicated team, and I would like to thank them for the extension to my term that I have already served. I’d also like to thank you, as members, for your valuable input in ensuring that our Trust lives up to its values and mission, and is accountable to the communities it serves.

We are also recruiting two new Non-Executive Directors to join our board and help lead the Trust. You can find out more about all these roles through a new recruitment microsite: https://join-tavistockandportman.com/. I strongly encourage those from our membership to consider applying for these roles, and to share widely among your networks. The deadline for applications is Monday 14 February 2022.

I’d also like to draw your attention to an independent review of our governance that the Board commissioned last year. Successful organisations are characterised by their commitment to learning and improvement in everything they do at every level, and this must start with the Board. It was in this spirit that we commissioned an independent review of all aspects of our governance.

Of course, this kind of review will always be challenging: it should be. Overall, the review found much to be proud of, but it also identified areas where we can do better. The review found that our Board has all the constituent elements to be effective and is serious about effective governance. You can read the full report in our January 2022 board papers (starts on page 71).

The Board specifically requested a warts-and-all report, and as such it does make for hard reading in places. We know that the report has been covered in the Health Service Journal (content behind a registration wall) with a focus on those warts. I am confident that building on the strengths identified in the report, and by being honest about the action needed to address the deficits we can make rapid progress. Indeed, as the authors of the review, Moosa Patel and Sarah Boulton, said to the Board: “The thing we observed most often was the energy, the positivity and the constancy with which you were attacking the work that you had in front of you. I think it’s a sign of a healthy board, that ambition that you have got, to take on board our recommendations to learn and improve as a board.”

I am pleased that the Board agreed to implement the recommendations, and expects to have made good progress before I step down in April. I will then be cheering the Trust and the Board on as the new Chair picks up the baton.

Thank you again for your continued support and commitment to the Trust.

Warm wishes,

Paul Burstow

Board Chair of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust

Paul Burstow headshot