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Ruth FitzJohn has been appointed Chair designate of ²gether NHS Foundation Trust (²gether).

The appointment was confirmed last night (19 November) by ²gether’s Council of Governors – a group of elected local people who represent the views of local communities, staff and stakeholders.

Speaking about her new role, Ruth said: “I am thrilled to be given this opportunity. I look forward to contributing to the work of the Trust and helping to ensure that the people of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire continue to access the best possible mental and social healthcare services available.

“I am confident that by working with our communities, colleagues and local partners, we can make continuous improvements in care and treament, while demonstrating sustained value for money”.

For the last six years, Ruth has been Chair of NHS Gloucestershire (and during the last year, NHS Gloucestershire and NHS Swindon). Following an international career in IT management and strategic planning, she has gained considerable NHS experience as Vice Chair of the former East Gloucestershire NHS Trust then Chair of the ‘3 Star’ Cheltenham and Tewkesbury Primary Care Trust.

Following the Council of Governor’s meeting, Ros Taylor, Lead Governor of ²gether said: ‘We are very pleased that Ruth is joining us. This is an important and challenging time for the whole NHS and her wealth of experience, knowledge and insight will be invaluable for the Trust over the coming years”.

Ruth will take over from ²gether’s current chair, Baroness Rennie Fritchie DBE who announced her retirement in July 2012 after five years with the Trust.

Ruth said: “Under Rennie’s leadership, the Trust forged strong local relationships and has continued to invest, develop and deliver high quality services for the people we serve. It will be a great honour to help build on Rennie’s strong legacy”.

“I invite all members of the communities we serve to join us in challenging the social exclusion that so often exists in our society. Together, we can build a stronger, more diverse community”.

Ruth will join ²gether in her new role on 1 April 2013. This was agreed so that she can continue to serve NHS Gloucestershire and NHS Swindon in full until the organisation ceases to exist on 31 March 2013.

Ruth added: “In accepting this exciting opportunity at ²gether, I would also like to pay tribute to the management and staff of NHS Gloucestershire and NHS Swindon. Due to their hard work, a huge amount has been achieved in recent years to improve patient care, improve the health of the population and secure financial stability. I remain committed to delivering my responsibilities here until the Spring.”