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Hewitt returns full of eastern promise

Patricia Hewitt’s tenure as health secretary between 2005 and 2007 coincided with a period of austerity for the NHS and should serve her well in her new role as independent chair of Norfolk and Waveney STP.

However, it is her experience following her parliamentary career that Ms Hewitt has pledged to draw on as she seeks to help the STP create plans to address its forecast £415.6m deficit by 2021.

She has spent the last eight years chairing the UK India Business Council, working extensively with Indian healthcare providers, whom she said had developed some “extraordinary innovations”.

In her first interview since her appointment, she told HSJ: “They can deliver world class, NHS standards of care at a fraction of the price. It’s not primarily because salaries are lower, but because they have rethought the entire system from first principles and maximised the use of technology. I am excited about bringing some of the learning, and in particular the digital learning, to Norfolk and Waveney.”

We also imagine Ms Hewitt will need to bring her diplomatic skills to the table to mediate between some of the factions, in what HSJ understands has been a tricky patch. We reported in June some senior NHS figures viewed her appointment as a move to “bang heads together” amid growing concerns that relationships between local organisations were poor and blocking the STP’s progress.

More changes at NHSE

An NHS England regional director has announced her departure this autumn.

Anne Rainsberry, London director for the national commissioning body, resigned in April but she “agreed with the NHS England leadership team that she would announce it in the summer so as not to be a distraction during the important planning and budgetary process for the next two years”, a spokesman said.

The senior management teams of NHS England have undergone significant changes in recent months at national and regional levels.

The NHS England spokesman said Dr Rainsberry would be “leaving the NHS” after a career of 33 years in the service.