A former social worker is set to become a clinical commissioning group chair.
Joe Slater who worked for Lancashire Council, has been named as the preferred candidate to chair the Blackburn with Darwen CCG which will take over planning and buying local health services from next April.
The CCG is currently chaired by Darwen GP Dr Chris Clayton, who is bidding to become chief executive of the CCG once it is authorised by the NHS Commissioning Board later this year.
Dr Clayton said: ‘It has always been our ambition to have a community representative leading the CCG to complement the knowledge and expertise of GPs and other health professionals who will sit on the board.
‘Joe is somebody with a long and successful career in public service, mainly around social care and also with considerable experience of how public sector organisations and boards run. He will bring vast wisdom, understanding and connection with Blackburn with Darwen to the role.’
A statement from NHS Blackburn said: “A key part of Mr Slater’s new role will include promoting patient and public involvement – including working with the new local patient voice organisation Healthwatch – to ensure people are at the heart of local decisions about health services.”
Mr Slater said: “I have lived in Blackburn all my life and worked in the town as a social worker and manager of social care services. I have a large, extended family living locally from my parents in law, who are in their 90s, to a baby grandson, so I have in my family first hand experience of NHS services from cradle to grave.
“I have always championed the needs of local people and I will use my knowledge and experience to help the CCG make life better and improve health in our borough.”
Mr Slater will now undergo a further assessment process before being formally appointed as chair in August. A second community representative is due to be appointed to the CCG board in the near future.
Blackburn with Darwen CCG will be in the second CCG authorisation wave. It submitted its application yesterdat and expects a decision by November.
Ruth Cartwright, manager of the British Association of Social Work England said: ‘We welcome Joe Slater’s appointment and the closer working together of health and social care.
‘The distinction between a health need and social care need is often arbitrary, confusing and downright unfair and closer working together may help.
‘Joe will be able to use his social work skills to bring people together, to improve communication and mutual understanding, and ensure the focus is on service user needs and what is best for them and their carers in their particular situation. BASW wishes him all the best if his role is confirmed.”