Fewer chiefs

JUST one chief executive is to head up three primary care trusts in the county in a bid to cut huge debts.Ipswich, Suffolk Coastal and Central Suffolk's PCTs are to be run by one person instead of three, but health bosses are insistent the three trusts will remain separate and will not merge.

JUST one chief executive is to head up three primary care trusts in the county in a bid to cut huge debts.

Ipswich, Suffolk Coastal and Central Suffolk's PCTs are to be run by one person instead of three, but health bosses are insistent the three trusts will remain separate and will not merge.

The three current chief executives, Lesley Watts, Ana Selby and Harper Brown, who currently earn in the region of £70,000 - £100,000 a year each, could now apply for the new job. But the new post will also be advertised externally.

However Jan Rowsell, spokeswoman for East Suffolk Healthcare said that no jobs would be lost in the changes and the three executives would take up other posts within the Trusts.

The three PCTs are currently £11million in debt and a special intervention team from Strategic Health Authority was sent in to help cut the costs.

A three-year financial recovery plan has now been drawn up and will be put out to public consultation in the coming weeks.

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Ms Rowsell said that changes in healthcare would be taking place rather than making cuts, to try and provide a better healthcare system while getting out of debt.

The boards of each of the three PCTs were asked to consider a proposal for a new approach to working together much more closely. Each board has now met and given their support.

A full and comprehensive consultation programme with all staff, partner NHS and social care organisations, and other stakeholders will now begin and continue until Monday September 6.

Ms Rowsell said: "Each of the three Primary Care Trusts will remain and there will continue to be a strong focus on local needs.

"The new way of working does not involve a merger of the three Trusts, but does bring together the expertise and experience of staff working throughout all three. It aims to streamline decision-making, empower staff and encourage leadership at all levels."

Plans to improve healthcare will include hospitals in the region as well as social services.

It is intended to provide more healthcare in the community.

Jenny Brabazon from the independent Patient and Public involvement forum for Suffolk Coastal said that the moves made sense but she wanted to know more about how the patient would be affected.

She said: "It makes sense because so much of the work that East Suffolk was doing they were doing jointly anyway.

"Axing two jobs in not going to make a huge amount of difference.

"I think it is important that as stakeholders the forums should be involved in the consultation process."

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