• Bradford District Care Foundation Trust has appointed Nicola Lees as its new chief executive
  • Ms Lees replaces Simon Large, who retired in August after nearly 10 years in the role
  • She was interim chief executive as well as deputy chief executive and operations director

A mental health and community trust has appointed its deputy chief executive and operations director to its top job.

Bradford District Care Foundation Trust has appointed Nicola Lees as chief executive, replacing Simon Large, who retired in August after nearly 10 years in the post.

Ms Lees, who has been acting as interim chief executive after Mr Large’s retirement, is a registered mental health nurse with more than 35 years in the sector and has been at Bradford District Care since 2009.

Prior to joining the Trust, she was network director for specialist mental health services for Greater Manchester West Mental Health Foundation Trust.

As the new chief executive Ms Lees will continue to lead the mental health work of the West Yorkshire Urgent and Emergency Care Vanguard, in partnership with other trusts across the region, to improve 24/7 urgent mental health care across West Yorkshire.

Trust chair Mike Smith said Ms Lees’ appointment came at a crucial time for the organisation when it is trying to deliver “significant” efficiencies.

Board papers from October show Bradford District Care was reporting a £224,000 deficit against a planned surplus of £666,000, with cost improvement plans £196,000 behind target.

Mr Smith added: “Nicola’s appointment comes at a crucial time for the Trust, as we strive to deliver better health outcomes and care for local people, whilst delivering significant efficiencies.

“The organisation has a strong reputation for innovation and best practice, and Nicola has been central to this. Through her leadership, Nicola will continue to build on this success and ensure that our excellent Trust team, from frontline to Board, remains focused on delivering high quality services for our local communities.”

Ms Lees said: “I’ll be continuing to work with staff across our mental health and community teams, the people who use our services and their families, to ensure that we continue to deliver outstanding services that are really responsive to local needs.”