new chapter for West Mercia Cluster of Primary Care Trusts

Single Cluster Board to meet in public

Next Tuesday (17 January 2012) will mark the first meeting of the West Mercia Cluster single Board.

NHS Worcestershire, NHS Herefordshire, Shropshire County PCT and NHS Telford and Wrekin were formally grouped together under a single team of directors representing the West Mercia area, in April 2011. Over the last nine months, this single team has reported to the four individual PCT Boards. Following national guidance, PCT clusters have been asked to formally establish a single Board that would act not only for the cluster but also for each individual PCT.

1 Next week will see the first meeting of the new formal West Mercia Cluster Board.

Already the four PCTs have benefitted from sharing best practice. It is hoped that by having a single Board for the cluster and individual Boards, it will give the PCTs greater resilience during the national changes to the NHS.

 The new single Board is led by the Chair of the West Mercia Cluster, Joanna Newton, who has been formally appointed to lead the Cluster Board. Joanna was the former Chair of NHS Herefordshire and has a wide experience of the private, public and voluntary sector. Through other chair roles including Hereford & Worcester Ambulance Trust, the West Midlands / Central Wales cross border group on health & social care and the West Midlands Specialised Commissioning Board, Joanna has built up a knowledge of the West Mercia region as a whole.

 The Cluster Board and Executive Team are committed to keeping a local focus, and as such the Board is made up of the former Chairs, a Non- Executive Director from each PCT, as well as officers who have an in depth knowledge of their local area.

In keeping a local approach, Board meetings will be rotated across the cluster and meetings may be scheduled to fit in with key local agenda items where appropriate.

 In a first for the PCTs, next week’s Board meeting will be streamed live on the web from the venue, enabling local residents across West Mercia to see the new Board and keep up to date with the latest policy decisions.

 Joanna Newton, Chair of West Mercia Cluster, said:

 “Next week will mark a new chapter for our PCTs. I would like to reassure people that although we have moved to a single Board to cover the West Mercia area from an operational perspective, both officers and Non-Executive Directors have been working hard, to ensure that the Board represents the local areas it serves and is committed to keeping a local focus. Our Board consists of representatives from each of the PCTs, who have the knowledge and experience of the needs of their local populations.

“I am also delighted to announce the appointment of our Non-Executive Directors:

Dr Bryan Smith

Rob Parker

Dr Helen Herritty

Andrew Mason

William Hutton

Louise Lomax

Susan Mead

Each of our Non-Executive Directors will have previously sat on one of our PCT Boards, enabling us as a Board to keep our local knowledge and experience.

“I also welcome the new and innovative methods we are introducing to keep our local communities informed. By aiming to make our Board meetings available online, we can increase the transparency and accountability of health decisions like never before. As always, we welcome people to attend our Board meetings and follow what is happening in their local NHS.”

At next week’s meeting, members will be asked to approve the Governance Operating Model for the new Board. This will include establishing committees under the new Board, and approving the Standing Orders of the Board.

Eamonn Kelly, Chief Executive of West Mercia Cluster, said:

“Next week’s meeting with the new Board, will help provide the stability and necessary governance to support the individual PCTs and the new Clinical Commissioning Groups. More and more, local commissioning will be taken on by the local Clinical Commissioning Groups as they prepare for their new role in 2013. By setting up this single Board, it will give the clinical groups more freedom to make local decisions, based on their local knowledge. At the same time, by having a single Board we can provide the necessary support and accountability to the clinical groups during this period of transition.

“The former Chairs of our PCTs will also remain on the Board and within the individual PCTs as locality links in their areas. This way we will ensure continuity and local accountability throughout the transition. Local people can also remain assured that their individual PCTs as well as the cluster are working to ensure their local NHS provides first class care.”

Members of the public are welcome to attend the first Board meeting at 10am on 17 January, in the Council Chamber at Worcestershire County Council in Worcester.

To view the Board papers visit