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Tower Hamlets GP appointed to DH reconfiguration panel

A GP has been appointed onto the independent panel that advises the Department of Health on disputes over the local reconfiguration of services.

Dr Shera Chok, director of primary care at Barts Health NHS Trust and a GP in Tower Hamlets, has been appointed to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP) to sit on the panel for a two-year period starting this month. She is also a GP at Wapping Group Practice in east London.

Dr Chok was previously a member of the PCG Board, Professional Executive Committee (PEC) and the LMC in Tower Hamlets. She has also held roles as medical director and director of quality and clinical Leadership for NHS Lambeth from 2008-2011.

The IRP, which was established in 2003, formally reviews contested proposals for NHS service change. Where local agreement on proposals for NHS service change cannot be achieved, a proposal can be referred by an overview and scrutiny committee to the health secretary, who can then ask the IRP to advise on the matter. The IRP also provides informal advice to organisations involved in developing proposals for NHS service change to avoid disputes at a later date.

Ongoing reviews of contested service changes include a reconfiguration of vascular services for Cumbria and Lancashire, children’s and maternity services at the Friarage Hospital, Northallerton, as well as the New Health Deal for Trafford.

Dr Chok has been appointed alongside a group of four other new members, none of whom are GPs.

IRP chair Lord Bernard Ribeiro CBE said: ‘The panel exists to provide independent and robust advice to ensure local health services are safe, sustainable and accessible. I am confident that the skills and experience of our new members will play an important part in ensuring the IRP continues to do this.’