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Karen Dowman, CEO, to retire after 21 years at the helm

The Board of Directors at Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust confirms that Karen Dowman, Chief Executive, will retire on the 31st July 2016.

Karen has served as chief executive since the organisation first became a health trust in 1995. She has led the Trust through a series of major developments including achieving NHS and Care trust status, leading the successful transfer to Foundation Trust status, taking on services from Wolverhampton, Walsall and Dudley to become the Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and recently developing a partnerships with neighbouring trusts: Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Dudley and Walsall NHS Mental Health Partnership Trust, as well as the MERIT vanguard.

Throughout her career, Karen has been a champion for mental health services both locally and at a national level. She has been instrumental in the development of mental health and learning disability services within Sandwell and contributed towards national policy on the development and prioritisation of these services through her work on the NHS Confederation Mental Health Foundation Trust Network. Karen has always been passionate about involving people in their care and ensuring services are of high quality.

Karen will be succeeded by Tracy Taylor, who will perform the role alongside her post as chief executive of Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. Tracy will be appointed from 1st August 2016 as Accountable Officer for Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Jo Newton, Chair of Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said:

“I have greatly enjoyed working with Karen over the last 18 months. Her longevity as chief executive speaks volumes about her passion for patients, her resilience and the respect in which she is held.

I am delighted that Karen will be succeeded by a highly experienced and talented Chief Executive Officer, Tracy Taylor. Tracy will bring her skills and experience in driving values based community and learning disability services to our services and sustainability agenda.”

Karen Dowman said:

“I will miss the fantastic people I have had the privilege of working with over the years, both inside and outside the Trust.

I know I will leave the Trust in excellent hands as Tracy Taylor, the current Chief Executive of Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and one of our partners in Transforming Care Together, takes over. Tracy has been a valued colleague for many years and has a wealth of experience.

I will always be very proud of the fact that mental health, learning disability and children and family services are in a far better place both here in the Black Country and nationally than they were 20 years ago.”

Tracy Taylor, said:

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to become chief executive of Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (BCPFT), and to have been appointed by the Board. I will be taking on this responsibility in addition to my current role as chief executive of Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (BCHC) and will be honoured to work within both organisations.

“The appointment represents an excellent opportunity to continue the excellent work delivered by Karen Dowman through 21 years of leadership, and to build upon that platform. Undertaking the roles alongside each other, with BCHC and BCPFT, reflects the increasing strength of the ‘Transforming Care Together’ partnership between these two organisations and Dudley and Walsall Partnership Mental Health Trust, as we work together to create a strong future. I look forward to working with the Boards, governors, staff and service users of both organisations in the best interests of the people and communities we serve.”