Weekly updates and essential insight into the NHS in the South West, by Will Hazell

Tributes paid to Swindon CCG chair

A lot’s happened in the South West over the last couple of weeks, but before we get to any of that we must note the passing of Peter Crouch, the chair of Swindon Clinical Commissioning Group, who died on 10 September.

Dr Crouch was an experienced GP who worked in Swindon for over 25 years, and was managing partner of one of the town’s largest practices – Taw Medical Practice.

He was elected chair of Swindon CCG in 2012, and combined the role with his general practice. He was also the vice-chair of the Swindon health and wellbeing board, and contributed to the work of the national finance allocation steering group and NHS assembly finance working groups.

I didn’t know Dr Crouch, but a number of those who worked with him paid him tribute in an article in the Swindon Advertiser. Here’s how Peter Swinyard, a fellow Swindon GP and chair of the Family Doctor Association, remembered him:

“He was a gifted leader of GPs who had a vision for the healthcare of Swindon and the tenacity to fight for the funding we need to deliver the best services we can to patients.

“He was passionate in his support of general practice in Swindon and was respected on the national stage as a leader of the profession.

“Without him, Swindon is deprived of a great talent. His patients are deprived of a very gifted doctor.”

Two departures in Hampshire

There’s been two announcements about board level departures in Hampshire in the last week, although the circumstances are very different.

On Monday Southern Health Foundation Trust, an already unsteady ship, was further rocked by the resignation of Tim Smart as interim chair with immediate effect.

The trust said Mr Smart resigned for “personal reasons”. He had received a huge amount of criticism for the terms of Katrina Percy’s resignation as chief executive. Ms Percy stepped sideways into a new role at the trust and kept her £185,000-190,000 chief executive’s salary.

I’m definitely no Cassandra, but I did remark at the time that the handling of Ms Percy’s resignation guaranteed that controversy would rumble on at the beleaguered trust.

A few days before Mr Smart’s exit we were given notice of a very different departure in the north of the county.

Mary Edwards will stand down from Hampshire Hospitals Foundation Trust at the end of this year.

Ms Edwards has been at the trust for 21 years and been in the chief executive hot seat for 13 of them. A number of readers commented warmly on her leadership under HSJ’s story.

One does wonder whether Ms Edwards departure spells an end to the trust’s plans for a £150m new “critical treatment hospital”.

Hampshire Hospitals and its commissioners have been in stalemate for months after the latter described the plans as “unaffordable”.

If the new hospital is finally shelved, then hopefully it will provide the local health bodies with an opportunity to crack on with those elements of the sustainability and transformation plan which do command broad support.

Another social enterprise bites the dust

Forgive me for playing the prophet one more time. In my last newsletter I wrote about the uncertain future of SEQOL, the Swindon social enterprise.

One week later SEQOL announced it would be the second NHS social enterprise in the South West to close its doors after Peninsula Community Health.

It’s depressing news for social enterprise fans.

But as someone on Twitter pointed out to me, a successful social enterprise was spun out of Peninsula, and the consortium which took it over included a GP community interest group. 

In other words, it’s not all doom and gloom on the social enterprise front.

Deep South

Deep South is HSJ’s email briefing on the NHS in the South West of England.

It takes an in-depth weekly look at a region which is one of the NHS’s most innovative, but also one of its most turbulent. The patch includes the cities of Bristol and Bath, through Wessex and Dorset, and all the way down the peninsular to Lizard Point.

Please get in touch with any suggestions about what you’d like to see covered and any story tips: will.hazell@emap.com