An NHS chief executive responsible for services in Cheshire West has been named as national health care CEO of the year.

Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Sheena Cumiskey gained the accolade at the 2015 Health Service Journal (HSJ) Awards.

The awards, said to be the largest celebration of national excellence in UK health care, highlight the most innovative and successful people and projects in healthcare.

Judges described Sheena as ‘humble, brave and courageous.’

They added: “The staff understand who they are and what they stand for. Our winner is truly at the heart of the organisation.”

The trust provides mental health, learning disability and drug and alcohol services across Cheshire and Wirral and community services in Western Cheshire.

TV and radio presenter Clare Balding was on hand at the ceremony to present Mrs Cumiskey with her award.

"huge endorsement"

Trust chairman David Eva said: “We are delighted Sheena has been named by the Health Service Journal as Chief Executive of the Year.

“This is a huge endorsement of Sheena’s tireless work over the years to put the needs of patients first and to support strong NHS leadership.

“We are all very proud of her achievement which reflects positively on the whole trust.”

Mrs Cumiskey commented: “I am deeply humbled. I was unaware that colleagues had nominated me and this really is a reflection of our collective achievements at the trust.

“I have the great pleasure of working alongside inspirational people, both within the trust and amongst our many partners who make my job very rewarding.”

She has worked in the NHS for 32 years, 19 at chief executive level and is also chairman of the NHS North West Leadership Academy.

Mrs Cumiskey has been included in the two most recent ‘top 50’ chief executive lists produced by the HSJ, and the trust has featured in its top 100 best places to work two years running as well as topping the table nationally in this year’s Care Quality Commission’s mental health survey.

Her entry was endorsed by a wide range of people working in mental health and the wider NHS and included her many and varied roles including her work with the leadership academy.

David Allison, chief executive of Wirral University Teaching Hospital Foundation Trust, commented: “She is an immensely valued colleague.”

Under her leadership, the trust became the first mental health trust to go completely smoke-free.

Mrs Cumiskey also presided over the trust’s Zero Harm campaign which has encouraged staff to share best practice.