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Remembering James Barton

6 February 2015

Our friend and colleague James Barton, Director of Integrated Services, tragically passed away this week.

In just one year at Southern Health, James made a significant and lasting impression, both on services he led and the people with whom he connected. Whether working at a local or national level, James’ passion for making things better for people who use or work in our services was clear in every conversation and every decision.

Joining us as director for mental health in January 2014, James provided decisive and inspiring leadership during a period of major change and uncertainty. Despite limited resources, James ensured more people received good quality mental health care closer to home. He championed the need for parity of esteem between mental and physical health, and the importance of helping people recover a life beyond illness. James worked tirelessly to build links with other organisations to join up care and support, including local authorities, commissioners, NHS trusts and the third sector.

James’ clear ability, dedication and far-sightedness secured him a position on the Trust Board as executive director in the Summer of 2014. Here his insight helped shape Southern Health’s future direction, ensuring mental health and learning disability services remain a top priority.

A true ‘people person’, James relished any opportunity to meet – with colleagues, people who use services, or anyone with an interest in health and social care. His straightforward, genuine manner, infectious enthusiasm, and ability to put himself in the shoes of the most vulnerable, helped him to connect with people at all levels and from all walks of life. 

James’ legacy is a strong foundation, clear vision, and inspired colleagues who are dedicated to providing a better future for people living with a mental health problem or learning disability. He is deeply missed and fondly remembered by his friends here at Southern Health.

Sharing your memories and messages

  • James' family would welcome any cards or messages. We encourage staff to send these through to Dr Lesley Stevens (address below) so they can be collected and passed on.
  • James' colleagues are compiling a book of memories, which will be shared with his family in due course. If you would like to contribute to this, it is located at the Trust headquaters (address below)
  • You can also email with any messages, memories, or photographs that you would like to share. These will also be passed on to James’ family and shared with his colleagues.


Address to send cards, or to come and contribute to the book of memories:

Dr Lesley Stevens
Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust
7 Sterne Road
Tatchbury Mount
Calmore, SO40 2RZ

I would like to:

Read the thank you letter family of James Barton sent to Southern Health