Crawley GP takes over top health post amid cash ‘challenge’

Dr Laura Hill SUS-180129-164007001
Dr Laura Hill SUS-180129-164007001

A local GP is to take over the lead role in the official body that plans and pays for local health services.

Crawley GP Dr Laura Hill has been appointed new chairman of the Horsham and Mid Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group.

She will take over the post from Dr Minesh Patel in April and will combine it with her current role as chairman of the Crawley Clinical Commissioning Group which she has led for over a year.

The two commissioning groups have shared a management team since 2017 when NHS England rated them ‘inadequate’ and placed them in special measures after overspending on financial budgets.

The two groups have been working more closely since January when they joined the Central Sussex and East Surrey Commissioning Alliance and have put together a financial ‘recovery plan’ under the direction of NHS England.

During his time as CCG chairman, Dr Patel oversaw a number of developments including the formation of a Rapid Access Medical Unit at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath which has given patients access to urgent medical care.

He said he had seen a number of improvements to the quality of patient care and added: “We have also experienced a number of challenges, particularly around our finances, and I would like to thank all the staff who have worked so hard to manage these the best we can. I am confident Dr Hill will provide excellent clinically-focused leadership and I believe we have the foundations in place to put the CCG in a stronger position to face our challenges and make further improvements for local people.”

Dr Hill said: “As a local GP, I understand the needs of our local people and my aim is to make sure this continues to be reflected in everything we do across our local NHS.”

Outgoing chairman Dr Patel will take over as chairman of the National Association of Primary Care from April, where he will be helping to represent the interests of primary care professionals.