Health chief's resignation wins support

A FORMER health official has today sprung to the support of Lilian Power and admitted that she too felt she received inadequate support from the Strategic Health Authority.

A FORMER health official has today sprung to the support of Lilian Power and admitted that she too felt she received inadequate support from the Strategic Health Authority.

Joanna Spicer, former chairwoman of the West Suffolk PCT, left at the end of last year and says she now feels compelled to speak out about the reasons behind her departure.

She said: "Public accountability is very important in the health system and not everyone understands the importance of this like Lilian did.

"I would prefer not to discuss in full my reasons for going but I did find the lack of support from the Strategic Health Authority very unhelpful, in what was a very difficult time for the PCT."

Ms Spicer, who was chairman of the former local health authority from 1992 said she had always been opposed to the idea of introducing three separate primary care trusts.

She said: "I always thought it would be difficult to sustain three PCTs in the east. I thought there should have been one at the beginning, but I wished them well and did not expect it to unravel as fast as it did.

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"I'm very sorry that they have not had more help."

However she said she is confident that new chief executive Carole Taylor-Brown can begin to turn things around and that asking for government intervention may result in a "heavy-handed" approach to the problems.

"I'm very pleased that Chris Mole is talking to ministers to ensure the PCTs get the support they need and people in Suffolk deserve but I would be wary of them coming in for any more heavy-handed criticism."

She said she feels that the way forward now would be a return to a more integrated health authority.

She said: "Whatever happens now the thing they really need to be thinking about is the patients. I think the way forward is a proper merger of the three PCTs. They need one board so they can all get together and concentrate on the services that matter.

"I think everybody should support Carole Taylor-Brown now in what she needs to do in health and social care."

Ms Spicer also said she believed the health system had suffered a great loss following Ms Power's resignation: "I'd like to pay tribute to Lilian. It's a very sad day for the NHS in Suffolk, she has been a tremendous campaigner for patients for the last 14 years.

"I was responsible for interviewing her in 1992 when she first joined the Suffolk health system and I knew then that this was someone that we could not afford not to have on board.

"Mental health services have lost one of their strongest campaigners. Her commitment to improving mental health over the past 14 years was just fantastic.

"Her contribution has been quite immense."

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