A NHS mental health trust chief will step down in May.

Dr Hayley Richards is set to retire as chief executive of Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust after 13 years with the organisation.

She has spent 33 years in the NHS, working as a psychiatrist before going into management with AWP.

Dr Richards said: “It has been an absolute privilege to be part of AWP over the last 13 years and I am extremely proud of the work we have achieved.

“When I started as chief executive in 2016 some of my main aims were to help us re-establish the confidence we deserved to have in the services we provide, to increase clinical leaders, to have senior managers and frontline staff work together more closely and to improve quality. There have been many challenges along the way, of course, mainly around funding and service demand, and these will continue in the coming years.

“I leave the NHS at a time of great challenge and opportunity and I will watch with hope and optimism that true parity of esteem is achieved for mental health service users.”

In recent years, AWP has faced criticism from Swindon campaigners over the temporary closure of the town's place of safety.