COLLEAGUES have paid tribute to an NHS director who died suddenly in Bognor Regis.
James Barton, 36, was the director of integrated services at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust.
Sussex Police confirmed they were called to a property in The Parade, at 5.30am on February 2, where Mr Barton was found not breathing.
He was taken to hospital by paramedics and died shortly afterwards.
A Sussex Police spokesman said today Monday, February 9: “An investigation is ongoing but the death is not believed to be suspicious.
“The coroner’s officer has been informed.”
The trust, based near Southampton, released a statement saying: “In just one year at Southern Health, James made a significant and lasting impression, both on services he led and the people with whom he connected.
“Whether working at a local or national level, James’ passion for making things better for people who use or work in our services was clear in every conversation and every decision.’
It added: “His straightforward, genuine manner, infectious enthusiasm and ability to put himself in the shoes of the most vulnerable, helped him to connect with people at all levels and from all walks of life.
“James’ legacy is a strong foundation, clear vision and inspired colleagues who are dedicated to providing a better future for people living with a mental health problem or learning disability.
“He is deeply missed and fondly remembered by his friends here at Southern Health.”
Mr Barton’s work ensured more people received good quality mental health care closer to home, the statement added. He also championed the need for parity of esteem between mental and physical health.
The funeral is 11am on Thursday, February 12, at the Riverside Church in Southampton.