A former health secretary has been appointed as the chair of Norfolk and Waveney sustainability and transformation partnership.
There are serious concerns that the organisation is progressing satisfactorily, and Patricia Hewitt has been appointed as an independent chair in an attempt to restore its credibility.
The decision has been described as an attempt to “bang heads together” in what is apparently a troubled region of the sustainability and transformation programme.
Hewitt had previously served as health secretary in the Labour government of Tony Blair from 2005 to 2007.
Norfolk and Waveney is among the STPs that NHS England is “most concerned about”, according to sources close to the sustainability and transformation process.
And there are concerns that this particular STP does not have a credible plan, with a lack of communication among the major players in the region apparently contributing to this debacle.
The latest document relating to the sustainability and transformation process suggests that the programme faces a deficit in excess of £450 million if nothing is done to address the situation.
This has put pressure on some of the underperforming regions within STP.
And with Norfolk struggling to deliver a satisfactory sustainability and transformation performance, providers in the region have already signed up for a Norfolk Provider Partnership model.
As part of this agreement, a “comprehensive plan for Norfolk” will be published at some point during the summer.
An STP statement for the region indicates that Hewitt will chair the oversight board in Norfolk, while Wendy Thomson, the Norfolk county council chief executive, remains as the STP lead and executive group chair.
Norfolk and Norwich Hospitals Foundation Trust chair John Fry welcomed Ms Hewitt to her position in an official statement.
“I am delighted to handover this role to Patricia. She brings huge insight and experience and we warmly welcome her to the role.”
Hewitt also commented on her new role.
“This is a crucial time in health and care services and we must work together collaboratively to continue to provide, and ensure the future of, high quality services for patients in Norfolk and Waveney.”
While an STP statement explained Hewitt’s remit.
“Wendy Thomson was appointed by NHS England in 2016 as the STP lead for the Norfolk and Waveney. Her role is to chair the STP executive team and provide executive leadership of the STP in line with guidance from NHS England.”