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New Chair appointed

Chief Executive Ruth Brown and Professor Laura Serrant OBE smile at the camera
16 November 2023

We’ve appointed Professor Laura Serrant OBE as the new Chair of Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust.

A nurse by profession and with strong links to Sheffield, Professor Laura is currently Regional Head of Nursing for the North East and Yorkshire at NHS England and a Professor of Nursing at Manchester Metropolitan University, where she was previously Head of Department.

She will take over the Chair from Sarah Jones, who will complete her final term at Sheffield Children’s on 31 December 2023 after more than seven years in post.

Sarah first joined Sheffield Children’s as a non-executive director and was then appointed Chair in September 2016. During her tenure Sarah has overseen the introduction of the dedicated paediatric transport service Embrace, the creation of our Tier 4 Mental Health inpatient facilities at Becton, the opening of new wards on the Sheffield Children’s Hospital site and worked with our system partners to ensure that the needs of children and young people are recognised as a priority across South Yorkshire. This has included chairing the South Yorkshire Mental Health Learning Disability and Autism Provider Collaborative. She has also been a Trustee of The Children’s Hospital Charity for seven years which has raised millions in that time to support children and their families.

Sarah said: “It’s been an absolutely privilege and pleasure to work with the Council of Governors, the Board of Directors and all our colleagues across the Trust. I am extremely proud of what we have collectively achieved over the last few years, both in the Trust and at the Charity, and I want to thank all our colleagues for everything they do. Although I will miss being part of the next stage of the journey, I know Sheffield Children’s has an exciting future in the years ahead!”  

The new Chair will look to build on this legacy, working with the Board of Directors and partners to continue to position the Trust locally, regionally and nationally to achieve the ambition of a healthier future for children and young people, and the wider community.

Ruth Brown, Chief Executive at Sheffield Children’s, said: “Sarah has overseen significant changes during her time with us at the Trust and has played an instrumental role in developing partnerships across the wider health and care system.  We would like to say a huge thank you to Sarah for her dedication and for all she has done for children, young people and their families.

“We are looking forward to building a future based on these strong foundations and are delighted that we have been able to appoint Laura Serrant as Chair of the Trust.  Laura brings a wealth of experience to the role and has strong connections with Sheffield, where her early nursing career took place, and a passion for children and young people’s services.  We look forward to welcoming Laura to the Trust.”

Laura has been a Professor of Nursing at Sheffield Hallam University and was a Non-Executive Director for Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust and Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust. She is a BBC Expert Women Panel Member, a Fellow of the American Academy of Nurses, the previous Chair of the Chief Nursing Officer for England’s BME Strategic Advisory group and a Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing.

Prof Laura SerrantShe is also a Trustee of the Florence Nightingale Foundation, an Ambassador of the Mary Seacole Memorial Statue and an Ambassador of the Equality Challenge Unit Race Equality Charter for Higher Education.

Laura said: “It’s my absolute pleasure to take up the role as Chair of Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust. The Trust has a great reputation of championing the care and wellbeing of children and families in South Yorkshire and beyond for over a century. I am looking forward to joining such a committed professional group of colleagues. My aim as Chair is to build on Sarah’s great legacy and work with the Chief Executive, Board and governors to further optimise health, equity and wellness for the children and families in the region.”

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