Health boss apologises

A TOP health boss has apologised to her colleagues over claims they were kept in the dark about a decision not to fund the Saxmundham one stop health shop.

A TOP health boss has apologised to her colleagues over claims they were kept in the dark about a decision not to fund the Saxmundham one stop health shop.

Carole Taylor-Brown, acting chief executive of the East Suffolk primary care trusts, issued the apology after questions were raised about the transparency of the decision-making process.

Mrs Taylor-Brown was part of a group of PCT chief executives who endorsed the recommendations of the County Premises Group (CPG), a county-wide advisory group who decided where almost £100,000 of government health funding went.

The Saxmundham project, which would have brought together an array of health services under one roof, lost out after the group decided not to give it funding.

At a meeting yesterday several members of the East Suffolk PCT's strategic board said they felt they had not been told enough.

Tony Robinson, chairman of Suffolk Coastal PCT, said: "The Suffolk Coastal board appears not to have been kept informed about the process and its local impact.

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"Had the board been aware of the process I believe we might have pressed to progress the business case for Saxmundham more quickly."

Other board members said that, had the process behind the decision been more transparent the Saxmundham project may have had a better chance of securing the funding as they would have known what the CPG were looking for.

Mrs Taylor-Brown said: "I would like to think the process that I and the team operate by is open and transparent and I would hope that's reflected in what you're seeing at this board.

"The point is that it should have been reported back to the local boards and it wasn't.

"I will publicly apologise for the fact that it was not reported to this board."

Ms Taylor-Brown stressed that the group had done everything by the book and had not gone against any regulations.

She said even if the decision-making process had been reported to the boards of the PCTs, it would not have influenced the final outcome because the chief executives would have already made the decision.

She pledged to continue working with Dr Havard and his colleagues at Saxmundham to find a way around the problem, and said the minutes of the CPG meetings would be made available on the PCT's website so the public could see more details about the decision.

A full business case for the Saxmundham one stop shop will be presented to the Suffolk Coastal Primary Care Trust board in February.

Do you think the decision-making process was handled properly? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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