Cash-strapped NHS appoints new interim CEO

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Health chiefs in St Helens have appointed a new interim clinical chief executive to head up the cash-strapped organisation.

Professor Sarah O’Brien has been named as the successor to Professor Steve Cox, who stepped down as the St Helens Clinical Commissioning Group’s top officer.

The CCG sparked controversy earlier this year when it announced a proposal to axe non-urgent referrals of patients to local hospitals.

Health bosses performed a u-turn after received a spate of criticism from politicians and doctors leaders.

Prof O’Brien currently holds the position of Chief Nurse at the CCG.

She said: “I am delighted that I have been asked to take on the role of Interim Clinical Chief Executive and look forward to taking on this challenge and leading the CCG through its financial challenges ahead.”

As well as this appointment, Mike Wyatt has been appointed as Interim Recovery Director for the CCG, as part of plans to closer integrate the areas of health and council services.

Mike will continue in his role of the Strategic Director of People’s Services at St Helens Council and will also take up his new role immediately.

This appointment will further develop closer integration between the Local Authority and the CCG.

Mr Wyatt said: “Through the strong partnerships that already exist in the Borough I am confident that there is a real opportunity to work together to improve people’s lives by tackling challenges of cost and demand. I look forward to playing a part in this.”

Geoffrey Appleton, Lay Chair at the CCG, added: “The two new appointments made by the CCG truly shows that the CCG and Local Authority are working collaboratively to ensure the borough of St Helens receive the best possible health and social care services”.

The CCG is facing some serious challenges, not least in our financial recovery and being under directions from NHS England. I am confident that Sarah has the determination and the skills to lead us effectively and to work collaboratively with our member GP practices, our Local Authority partners, as well as providers in primary and secondary care, in creating the St Helens integrated care system.

“This will deliver transformational change to how health and social care is delivered for our patients.”