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14.01.16

PHE boss to chair north east health and social care devo commission

The chief executive of Public Health England has been chosen to chair the Commission for Health and Social care in the north east, the centrepiece in the region’s devolution deal.

Duncan Selbie will take the lead in the North East Combined Authority commission, designed to look at how services are provided regionally and assess the potential for further collaboration and integration between health and care.

Apart from Greater Manchester and, more recently, London, the north east was the only deal to include a significant element of health and social care. Leaders argued that while there are “real strengths” in the region, the area still faces huge challenges, with health and care outcomes amongst the worst in the country.

As a result, the commission was created to look at the system as a whole and address the impact of its wider issues on the population, particularly within the current “climate of constrained resources”.

According to the combined authority, the health and care system in the region is both financially and clinically unsustainable.

Selbie, who has held a number of regional and national posts in the NHS before leading the government health body, said: “It is a great privilege to have been asked to chair the commission.

“I look forward to the challenge of helping ensure that the combined authority has the best possible blueprint for integration, collaboration and devolution, which will enable it to improve outcomes and reduce health inequalities for local people.”

Senior figures in the group – which spans the local authority areas of Northumberland, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Gateshead, South Tyneside, Sunderland and County Durham – also welcomed the “extremely well-placed” appointment.

Tim Rideout, director of commissioning for NHS England, Cumbria and the north east, emphasised that devolution provides “a real opportunity for health and social care commissioners and providers to work even more closely” to meet growing and changing needs.

“It should give us more ways of doing this at a strategic and planning level, but also in terms of bringing staff together to deliver more seamless services in relation to care, treatment and support, including health improvement work,” he added.

The commission will look at social care, public health, acute and primary care, and community and mental health services.

It is expected to report in the summer with more recommendations for further devolution and integration, outlining the steps needed to achieve this goal.

(Top image: c. Joe Giddens, PA Images)

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