Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 4 October 2012


I hereby make a prediction: healthcare in this region will improve significantly over the next 3 years. Why do I say this? Two reasons: system and people.

The much debated health reforms are about to take shape on the ground. The new Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), a board made up of 6 local doctors and people with financial and management skills, is running live from this month. Its territory is all of Plymouth and part of South Hams and West Devon. It will be one of 4 CCGs in Devon. From April 2013 the old structures fall away completely. So from this month three groups will be largely responsible for all health decisions for us: the CCG, the Plymouth City Council (which has responsibility for social care) and the acute hospital (Derriford).

Here is where the really good news starts. All of these three health organisation are run by outstanding people who get on well together and are determined to deliver first class healthcare. Peter Rudge a pioneering doctor from Ernesettle is heading up the CCG. His passion is to put patients at the heart of the health service. Ann James who has run healthcare elsewhere in Devon and Cornwall has taken over (2 weeks ago) at Derriford and I am certain will make a positive impact on that Byzantium structure. She has the experience and ability to make Derriford a world class hospital. This triumvirate is completed by the immensely practical and experienced Carole Burgoyne who heads up the social care team at the council. 

You can have the best systems in the world but in the end, it is people that make the difference. We are fortunate that the three people heading up these crucial health organisations are of the highest quality and are already working together well.

To be frank it has not always been this way. The previous commission group (the PCT) has often been daggers drawn with the hospital and burdened by a bureaucratic mindset. The three entities have not always worked closely together.

The government is putting in extra money every year over and above inflation as well as setting challenging targets for administrative savings, all of which will be ploughed back into front line services.

So for once the stars are in alignment, the right people are in leadership positions, the new system is settling down. It will not happen overnight but we can expect to see gradual and positive change.

posted by Gary @ 13:27