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Healthcare boss to split his role to help meet demands
THE chief executive of one of Oxfordshire’s main health organisations is giving up part of the role, after just seven months.
Dr Stephen Richards was appointed to head up Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) – which purchases the county’s healthcare – when it was created in April.
But yesterday he said the demands on the organisation, the fifth largest CCG in the country, have been too great and he is proposing to split his role.
Dr Richards intends to become clinical chairman and plans to hire a new senior manager to take over his managerial responsibilities and allow him more time to discuss ideas alongside other clinicians to improve healthcare. He will continue to lead the organisation.
He said 75 per cent of the country’s 212 CCGs used the same model but it had not been put in place earlier because the scale of the challenge facing Oxfordshire had only become apparent recently.
He denied this showed the Government’s CCGs, designed to bring GPs to the centre of healthcare commissioning in place of primary care trusts, had failed.
The proposal will now go to the group’s members for a ruling. A decision is expected in the next few weeks and Dr Richards said he had spoken to colleagues and the idea had “strong support”.
If it is agreed, Dr Richards said he hoped the new manager would be in place by April 1 at the latest. He denied the organisation would lack management and be “soft pedalling” until then.
Dr Richards said he did not know the cost of hiring a new manager and said the cost of consulting the members was “negligible”.
As it was set up, OCCG revealed it had to find £25m of savings in its first year to meet its £650m budget, while pressures on the health service had increased.
Last month, OCCG said, in the worst case scenario, it could be £11.1m in deficit by the end of the financial year and although expected to meet its budget would have to spend all its £6.9m reserves to do so.
Dr Richards, pictured, said: “This is recognition that Oxfordshire, whilst not unique, has particular challenges and needs a stronger clinical voice than I was able to give it. This strengthens our position.”
He said if the members did not support the proposal there was a plan b, but declined to say what this was.
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