Steve Forsyth has been appointed chief nurse at Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust.
Mr Forsyth will take up the position at the mental health trust in April, taking over the role from Sheila Lloyd who is retiring in March.
“As a proud Brown man and from a global majority background, navigating the NHS has not always been easy for me”
The trust said Mr Forsyth, who is of Indian and Scottish heritage, was the UK’s first male chief nurse who comes from a South Asian background.
Mr Forsyth will be leaving Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust where he has been interim chief nurse since October 2022.
Before that he was director of nursing at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board in North Wales.
Born in Wolverhampton, Mr Forsyth started out as a healthcare assistant before registering as a mental health nurse in 2000 and then an adult nurse in 2005.
He remains dual registered and has many years’ experience working in mental health and with patients with learning disabilities.
In an interview with the Nursing Times in 2020, Mr Forsyth spoke about the stigma he faced in pursing his dream of becoming a nurse against criticism that the career was not “manly” enough.
On the announcement of his new role at Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber, Mr Forsyth said: “As a proud Brown man and from a global majority background, navigating the NHS has not always been easy for me.”
Mr Forsyth has credited his mother, Inderjit, as an inspiration in his choice of career. Born in Chandigarh, India, she came to the UK in 1959, qualified as a nurse in 1975 and is still practising almost 50 years later.
Mr Forsyth said: “My mum inspired me to get into nursing and I am very grateful for the opportunities that I have been given over the last few years.”
He added: “I love people, their stories and the opportunity to play a part in improving lives, reducing health inequalities, enhancing access to care and ensuring people receive nothing short of the safest and best quality care.
“I am really excited to join the Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber team and to have the privilege of leading, shaping and inspiring its nursing workforce.”
Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber chief executive Toby Lewis said: “We are thrilled that the trust has attracted a leader with Steve’s values and skills.”
Mr Forsyth is a member of several national groups focused on improving NHS diversity and representation including one led by the chief nursing officer for England, as well as the Jabali Network, the Nola Ishmael Executive Nurses Group, Asian Professionals National Alliance and British Indian Nurses Association.