John Short, chief executive at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust, has announced his retirement after six years at the helm.

Mr Short said the decision was a personal one, to spend more time with his family and hobbies, and he may return to volunteer in mental health after retirement.

He was named in HSJ’s top 50 chief executives earlier this year, and is mental health lead for the Birmingham and Solihull “sustainability and transformation partnership”.

In a message to staff this morning, Mr Short said: “My intention in working in mental health services has always been to make a difference for the better and improve the services that we offer to people overwhelmed by their poor mental health. I have seen a huge number of service changes over this period.”

He also said more that 25 years working in mental health in the NHS meant there had also been sadder times, with service users, and sometimes colleagues, taking their own life.

During his tenure, Mr Short cut the number of sites the trust operated from and helped spearhead several West Midlands mental health partnerships, such as the MERIT vanguard and REACH OUT secure inpatient partnership.

He was also at the helm in 2015 during a controversial reconfiguration of mental health services in Birmingham, that saw trust lose services for 18 to 25-year-olds to a new consortium called Forward Thinking Birmingham

Trust chair, Sue Davis, said: “Throughout his time at the trust, John has been uncompromising in campaigning locally, regionally and nationally for what he believes is right for the people who use and deliver our services.

“He has personally spearheaded and encouraged the development of new mental health programmes and partnerships and ensures that we share learning and experience with others.” 

Mr Short will leave the role in March 2019, to allow time for a replacement to be found.