After 12 years at Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust (GMMH) our Chief Executive Bev Humphrey has retired.
It was a bittersweet day at GMMH as we hosted a retirement event for Bev on Monday 26 March 2018 at The Curve in Prestwich.
With an amazing career in the NHS spanning over 35 years, Bev’s indomitable spirit has made her a much loved and well respected leader. With representation from every workforce in her NHS history, the room was full of well-wishers including service users, carers, Chief Executive Officers, board members, former colleagues and Bev’s family.
Rupert Nichols, Chair of GMMH welcomed guests and introduced a host of speakers. Speakers included Sheena Cumiskey, Chief Executive of Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, who started her NHS career with Bev in 1983 in the NHS graduate scheme. Sheena described how Bev has always been “passionate about care with a real passion for improving lives.” David Peat of former Chief Executive East Lancashire Health Authority and East Lancashire Primary Care Trust recounted that his time working with Bev was “ten of the most enjoyable and productive years of my career.”
Gill Dolan, former Director at Lancashire and South Cumbria Strategic Health Authority spoke about her “dear friend” attaining significant achievements in their work together culminating with Bev receiving a letter from former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela.
GMMH Directors Andrew Maloney (Director of Human Resources and Corporate Affairs), Neil Thwaite (Director of Strategic Development) and Chris Daly (Medical Director) described the immeasurable contributions that Bev has made not only to the Trust, but to them personally as well. Neil applauded Bev for her “patient focussed culture”, her “great partnership working” and how Bev was instrumental in GMMH becoming a Foundation Trust in 2008. Chris echoed Neil stating that Bev steered the Trust with her strong leadership during the transformation and always “wanted the best for the patients of Manchester.” He added that her passion extended to her relationship with clinical staff particularly in substance misuse services.
Stephen Dalton, former Chief Executive of the Mental Health Network and NHS Confederation aswell as a Non-Executive Director at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust reminisced on a long career with Bev and described her longevity and achievements as down to Bev “never letting hierarchy and rules get in the way of what’s right.”
With touching tributes, Bev gave an impassioned speech reflecting on her career in the NHS and at GMMH. Speaking directly to the leaders in the room, Bev stated “Mental health is on the political agenda, let’s keep it there. “Whether you have a penny or a palace, you deserve equity of healthcare.
“I loved the NHS and it’s loved me back.”
The event concluded with Mike Wilson, Expert by Experience for GMMH, reading a poem he had written specifically for Bev, Pastures New (see below).
Bev retires leaving a fantastic legacy, appearing in the Health Service Journal Top 50 NHS Chief Executive Officers for three consecutive years and leading the Trust through latest Care Quality Commission report where GMMH achieved and overall rating of ‘Good’ and ‘Outstanding’ for well-led.
Out to Pastures New
On a journey for 35 years so I’m told,
Wealth of experience to others behold.
Lives have been changed by your presence there,
Many can testify to that moment with you to share.
It’s now time to “sit down” and reflect as you do,
A significant life led, an NHS champion through and through.
In the song it also says “next to me”,
A trait of unending empathy your personality would agree.
Having so many interests, to name but a few,
Liver Birds, Sefton Park meaning so much to you.
Barrowford is where you live fond memories of Blacko Tower,
A climb up Pendle Hill, the views to shower.
Marriage on the horizon, to Chamonix return,
A beautiful May wedding, such an occasion learns.
Walking, climbing, photography, reading just a peak,
All reflect your personality so unique.
Then what about the happy event happened only last year,
The birth of a granddaughter bringing so much cheer.
Colours are important especially teals and oranges there,
Festooned in your world as each hue you share.
A remarkable woman I personally would say,
Bringing light into my life was darkness did play.
A legacy left me, where once only distress,
Now in recovery, my life no longer a mess.
Teaching me so much about compassion and care,
Though holding position, always willing to share.
On this next stage of your journey I wish you well,
Pastures new I can surely tell.
By Mike Wilson