Published: 06/05/2004, Volume II4, No. 5904 Page 12 13

Thelma Holland Chief executive South West Peninsula SHA

1.What is the biggest challenge for your health economy?

In the short term, the financial balance and the repayment of accumulated debt. Longer term, the challenge is our geography and demography (a dispersed older population) and its effect on chronic-disease management.

2.What are the biggest challenges your SHA faces?

Workforce and IT. The first is about planning an integrated workforce, particularly in responding to the chronic-disease management challenge. IT is really important if we want to capitalise on opportunities around telemedicine, for instance. It has to be seen as a management, not just technical concern.

3.What is your financial position?

As of month 11 we have a£17m deficit - most of that is accumulated debt. The problem is particularly acute in Cornwall. The overall figure might change by the time our accounts are closed, but we do not expect much change.

4.What are your latest figures on waiting lists?

For the end of March we have 16,043 patients waiting over three months for inpatient/daycase treatment, 4,639 inpatients waiting over six months and 1,280 outpatients waiting over 13 weeks.

5.What is your biggest public health challenge?

Health inequalities - Devon and Cornwall's picture postcard image masks a low-wage economy still dependent on seasonal tourism. There is a great poverty of opportunity in many areas - inner city Plymouth, parts of north Devon, Poole and Redruth.