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ICB chair resigns after not wanting to sign off cuts

ICB chair resigns after not wanting to sign off cuts
By Beth Gault
11 June 2024

Devon ICB’s chair, Dr Sarah Wollaston has announced she will step down from her role after feeling unable to sign off on more financial cuts.

Dr Wollaston, a former Conservative MP and chair of the health select committee, has been chair of the ICB since December 2021 and announced her resignation this morning.

In a tweet, Dr Wollaston a GP, said: ‘With regret I have decided to resign as chair of NHS Devon. Thank you to all the wonderful NHS, care and voluntary sector teams that are out there doing their very best in challenging circumstances. Did not feel able to sign off on a further cut; elastic already stretched too far.

‘It really makes no sense to ‘punish’ the most challenged systems with penalties on their capital budgets when access to capital is essential to improving their performance, conditions and safety. The state of our infrastructure in too many places is frankly shocking.’

She added: ‘The next government needs to stop the cycle of capital to revenue transfers and pay serious attention to investing in NHS infrastructure. Also need to address the shocking waste of public money and lost opportunities due to delays in accessing capital.’

In another tweet, she said it was ‘time for her to go’, as she saw ‘no point’ to promising the ‘unachievable’.

Devon ICB said Dr Wollaston had chosen to leave with immediate effect and that the deputy chair, Kevin Orford, had stepped into the role in an interim basis.

Elizabeth O’Mahony, south west regional director at NHS England, who is responsible for the recruitment process of Dr Wollaston’s successor, said: ‘I want to thank Sarah for stepping in to the role of interim chair for NHS Devon and for staying in it for over two years, which was much longer than originally planned.

‘She has made a valuable contribution and now feels the time is right for another colleague to support the system during the next phase of its development.

‘We will now make arrangements to appoint a substantive chair and in the meantime welcome Kevin, as an experienced member of the Board, who is stepping into the role on an interim basis.’

Mr Orford, who will also take on the role of interim chair of One Devon Partnership, the system’s ICP, said: ‘I’m really grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Sarah on our Board and I wish her all the best for the future. I am looking forward to working with Steve Moore and my Board colleagues to provide all the support we can to NHS Devon staff and maintain our system focus on addressing the challenges we face.’

Dr Wollaston served as a member of parliament for Totnes, Devon from 2010 to 2019, first elected for the Conservative Party and then later as a Change UK and then Lib Dem MP. She was chair of the Health Select Committee from 2014 to 2019.

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