WORKFORCE: Avon and Wiltshire Partnership Trust’s interim chair has been appointed on a permanent basis by the Appointments Commission.

Tony Gallagher has been interim chair since April when the previous chair Felicity Longshaw resigned suddenly.

Her departure was followed by that of chief executive Laura McMutrie and comes in the wake of a difficult year for the trust which saw two of its commissioners start plans to retender the services and a number of critical reports into the care of patients.

Mr Gallagher has been a board member for four years and chair of the audit committee for two. Before that he was chair of governors of Swindon Further Education College for over five years and has wide UK and international business experience.

He said: “We have started to change the way the trust is run and the way it relates to staff, service users, carers and other stakeholders.  As an organisation we want to be transparent, outgoing and fully engaged with the communities with whom we work.

“I see my appointment as recognition of the positive steps taken in the past few weeks and faith in my ability to lead the trust through this challenging period.”