• Deborah Fielding to retire from Hertfordshire and West Essex STP at end of April
  • STP chair says role may be rolled into one jointly held with CCG lead
  • Region due to become ICS in shadow form from April 2020

A sustainability and transformation partnership has announced the retirement of its first full-time lead officer after just over a year in the role.

Deborah Fielding, who has been the chief executive officer for the Hertfordshire and West Essex STP since January 2018, will stand down at the end of April as part of her planned retirement.

Ms Fielding is the third person to take on the leadership role, although the other appointees were part-time only.

The region is now looking for a replacement. But Paul Burstow, former health minister and newly-appointed chair for the STP, told HSJ the area is considering if this role might work better as a joint appointment. 

The three clinical commissioning groups in the patch – East and North Hertfordshire, West Essex, and Herts Valleys – are due to discuss next month whether to share a joint accountable officer. If this is agreed, Mr Burstow said the joint CCG role may be combined with the STP lead role, although he stressed nothing had been decided.

Ms Fielding said: “It was always my intention to retire this spring after leading our hugely significant partnership through this crucial period. We have made real progress, developing a population-health based integrated health and care strategy and supporting medium-term financial plan[s] over the last six months”.

She added this progress would “stand [the STP] in good stead as we begin [to] make the transition to an integrated care system”.

She told HSJ the region plans to become an ICS in shadow form by April 2020. NHS England’s long-term plan recently called for all STPs to become ICS by April 2021.

Ms Fielding was appointed as a board trustee at St Clare Hospice, Harlow, in December 2018 and will continue with this role after her official retirement from the NHS.

She was formerly the chief executive of West Essex CCG, having taken up that role in August 2016. She started her career as a nurse at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals FT.