"The regulators encourage challenged organisations to appoint experienced people for a fixed term (a maximum of 12 months in my case) to bring focus to the Board, to accelerate improvement actions, and to assure regulators that issues are being resolved with sufficient pace and urgency.
"I was appointed on 5 May, and I need to spend some time thinking carefully about the specifics, but my focus will be on two things.
"First, I intend to assure myself that we are correctly organised and have the necessary focus to resolve the issues identified by the Care Quality Commission, many of which came to light following the investigation into the tragic and avoidable death of Connor Sparrowhawk. To do that, I will meet staff across the Trust. I will talk at length with the Council of Governors, who represent patients, and who have a voice in the appointment of most of the Board. And through the Governors, I will talk with patients and their families, who will be front and centre to the conclusions that I draw. So, I expect that by the end of the month, I will have a very clear view of ways in which we need to improve.
"Second, I need to decide whether the Board of Directors needs to be strengthened, and if so, how. Obviously, the first step has been my appointment, and I’m impressed by the nature of the welcome I’ve received so far. But I will need some independent advice on this matter, and I will quickly appoint some help to do that. I will act on their advice, involving the Council of Governors again in their role in appointing directors.
"I’m proud to have been given the chance to help improve the quality of care provided to the people served by Southern Health."