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Dalton leaves Mental Health Network, hails ‘new phase’ for NHS Confederation

The chief executive of the Mental Health Network, Stephen Dalton, has announced today that he will be abandoning his post in order to focus exclusively on leading the NHS Confederation more widely as its CEO.

Dalton, who has led the Network for more than three-and-a-half years, said his decision was the result of a “period of unprecedented healthcare challenges”.

“It's evident to all of us that the NHS is entering a very challenging period,” he said.

“Compounded by political turmoil and post Brexit uncertainties, more than ever, NHS leaders, together with colleagues in the wider care sector, need to come together and send a clear message to our new government about priorities in health and care.

“It's been a privilege to represent colleagues on the front line of delivering mental health services. We've travelled a long way in recent years but there's more to do. The argument about the importance of mental health has been won but we've yet to see this fully translate into parity of investment in frontline services.”

Dalton, who has a nursing background and has been part of the NHS for 40 years, including as a provider CEO for 17 years, also argued that the Confederation “needs to change too”,  by “exploring how best we can work with other important presentative voices”.

“I look forward to, this year, ushering in a new phase for the NHS Confederation as well as paving the way for a new chief executive at the Confed,” he concluded.

The Mental Health Network, an arm of the Confederation representing NHS-funded mental health and learning disability service providers in England, will begin searching for a new leader later this month.

Its chair, Bev Humphrey, praised Dalton for the “great job” carried out on behalf of service users, citing his vital role in “ensuring mental health is now talked about by the most senior politicians and policymakers and central to any discussion about healthcare”.

Dalton represented the Confederation in its annual conference last month, speaking alongside Stephen Dorrell on the first day of the exhibition. He has also recently made the case for a strong agreement with the EU to offset the impact on the NHS, adding that they will be working, through the Confederation’s European Office, with Brussels and the UK to ensure the needs of patients were understood.


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(Top image c. NHS Confederation)


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