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Professor Sir Liam Donaldson appointed Chair for the Integrated Care System for the North East and North Cumbria

Former Chief Medical Officer for England, Sir Liam Donaldson, has been appointed Chair for the Integrated Care System (ICS) for the North East and North Cumbria.

This appointment, confirmed today (14 December 2020), is the next step in formalising a new way of working which will ensure partners across the North East and North Cumbria including the NHS, Local Authorities, Voluntary Sector and others, take collective responsibility for planning and delivering care, managing resources, and improving the health and well-being of the population.

Appointed through a formal recruitment process, which included an appointment panel with representation from across the NHS, Local Authority and Voluntary Sector, one of the first jobs for the Chair of the Integrated Care System will be the setting up of a Partnership Board which will bring together a range of individuals and will shape the planning of health and well-being services in North East and North Cumbria. The Partnership Board will develop and agree the main regional priorities to improve population health which will, in most cases, be implemented locally by partners and will not cut across the current statutory accountabilities of local organisations.

Professor Sir Liam is recognised as an international champion of healthcare quality, patient safety and public health. He is a former vice-chairman of the World Health Organisation’s executive board. He is the World Health Organisation’s envoy for patient safety and chairman of the independent monitoring board for the Polio Eradication Programme.

Sir Liam was previously the chief medical officer for England, and the United Kingdom’s chief medical adviser, from 1998-2010, the longest serving in modern times. During this time, he held critical responsibilities across the whole field of public health and healthcare and advised secretaries of state for health, the prime minister and other government ministers. He produced landmark reports that set health policy and legislation in many fields, notably the country’s decision to introduce smoke-free public places and workplaces.

In the 1980s and 1990s, he was regional director of public health and regional general manager of the former northern regional health authority. He was chancellor of Newcastle University for 10 years, stepping down from that post in 2019.

On accepting the role Sir Liam said: “It’s a privilege to take on the role of Chair for the Integrated Care System in the North East and North Cumbria. Whilst we are fortunate to have some of the best services in the country, we are historically a region with high levels of premature death and preventable illness.

“We have an opportunity to address this with real focus and determination. We must aim to close the long-standing health inequality gap with a clear plan to support our population to live healthier and have higher quality lives. COVID19 has brought a new and formidable challenge that also is a priority.

“On a personal note, I have a deep attachment to this region, so I approach the job with a strong commitment to work with all partners to move us up the health league table.”

Executive Lead of the ICS in the North East and North Cumbria Alan Foster added: “I am delighted to welcome Sir Liam to this new position of chair of the Integrated Care System in the North East and North Cumbria and look forward to working with him on the formation of the Partnership Board and delivering on our ambitious plans to transform the health and wellbeing of our local population.

“We come from a great starting point with a long and proud history of joint working across the region which has become even more stronger as we pulled together to tackle the challenges of the pandemic this year.”

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