• Ron Shields is retiring from Dorset Healthcare University Foundation Trust
  • He has been chief executive for five years
  • Has held leadership positions at NHS organisations for 21 years

A trust leader has announced his retirement after 21 years as an NHS provider chief executive.

Ron Shields has led Dorset Healthcare University Foundation Trust since 2013 and has worked in various NHS roles for 38 years.


When he joined DHUFT as interim chief executive in 2013 the community and mental health trust was subject to formal regulatory action. But this concluded in 2014 and earlier this year it was rated “good” by the Care Quality Commission. The trust delivered a £5m surplus in 2017-18.

He will step down in March.

Chair Andy Willis said in a statement: “Ron’s clear moral compass, his belief that frontline staff are best placed to drive improvement and innovation, and his passion to deliver outstanding services for the people of Dorset has positioned Dorset Healthcare to lead the further development and shaping of our community and mental health services.”

Mr Shields said: “I will be leaving with sadness, but immense pride about being part of Dorset Healthcare and what we have achieved through our community and mental health services for the people of Dorset. 

“After 38 years in the NHS and five years in Dorset Healthcare, now is the right time for me to pass on the baton and to support the trust board in recruiting a new chief executive.”

Mr Shields was previously chief executive of Haringey Community Healthcare Trust and Northamptonshire Healthcare FT.