Oxford Health has created a new Board level role to lead mental health and learning disability services through the transition to providing more joined up ‘integrated’ care across health and social care systems in Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Bath & North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire.

The new Managing Director of Mental Health position has been created to support local delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan, and builds on discussions with key partners, including Oxfordshire and Buckinghamsire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

We’re pleased to announce that Debbie Richards has been appointed to this role, bringing with her 20 years’ senior level experience in clinical service delivery, commissioning and transformation across health and social care, most recently as a director at Buckinghamshire CCG.

Oxford Health Chief Executive Stuart Bell said: “I’d like to welcome Debbie to her new role at Oxford Health. It’s a really important step in the development of integrated care for mental health services across Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and beyond. Debbie brings a wealth of experience from working with service providers and commissioners and a professional background as a mental health social worker.

“This role comes about at a key time, with the government’s national commitment to mental health set out in the NHS long term plan.”

Debbie Richards said: “I am delighted and honoured to be offered this role. I look forward to joining the Board and to working with the dedicated and hard-working mental health and learning disabilities staff across Oxford Health, and our wider health and care system partners, so that we make care a joint endeavour between professionals, people who use our services and their family and friends.”

Oxford Health’s community physical health services are also limbering up for more integrated working across Oxfordshire with our acute, primary and social care colleagues and Stuart Bell has said: “Given the importance of this work, I will be directly supporting the directorate leads to take that work forwards.”

Louise Patten CEO of Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire CCGs said: “Many congratulations to Debbie on this new role. She has made a fantastic contribution as a member of the Board at Buckinghamshire CCG and this role will help both CCGs to work more closely to truly meet the needs of people who need support and care with their mental health or learning disability.”

Debbie takes up her position as MD of Mental Health on 22 July.