County to lose third cabinet member in a month

CAMBRIDGESHIRE County Council is set to lose yet another cabinet member – but this time for the best of reasons. Councillor Victor Lucas, who represents Warboys and Upwood, is set to become the first chairman of Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust s provide

CAMBRIDGESHIRE County Council is set to lose yet another cabinet member - but this time for the best of reasons.

Councillor Victor Lucas, who represents Warboys and Upwood, is set to become the first chairman of Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust's provider services board, which is to become an independent operational unit.

It will be called Cambridgeshire Community Services, with the sole focus of delivering the range of health and social care services currently provided by the PCT to the county.

The appointment, which takes effect on Saturday, means Cllr Lucas must step down as cabinet member for communities and as vice-chairman of the board of Hinchingbrooke Hospital. He was closely involved in delivering the agreements between the county council and predecessor PCTs that saw the NHS take over the county's social service provision for older people - move that has been hailed as highly successful.


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The former senior Royal Navy officer said: "The staff in the many areas of activity involved in the provider services directorate enjoy a high reputation for their commitment and quality of service. It will be a privilege to build on this firm foundation and lead the organisation to become an independent operational business unit. It will be good to be able to focus on the things it does best.

"I also look forward to continue working with the county council and our partners in the health service and voluntary sector."

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The chairman of the provider services board is £20,144 a year for three to three-and-a-half days a week. The appointment is for up to four years, but will be reviewed after one year.

The PCT's provider services directorate, which has 2,700 staff and an annual budget of £130million - £75million of it from the county council for social services - is responsible for integrated health and social care services for adults and older people (district nursing, care management, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and personal care), specialist nursing and therapies, four community hospitals, children's acute services at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Huntingdon, children's community services, diagnostic and outpatient clinics, minor injury and Huntingdonshire out-of-hours GP services, and public health programmes.

Cllr Lucas was a submarine engineering specialist and latterly was developing policy and advising Government on nuclear de-commissioning and the ethics of strategic deterrence. In 1994 he left the Royal Navy to become senior inspector for further education in the East of England and the Midlands. He was elected to the county council in 2001 and re-elected in 2005.

Victor Lucas has the rare distinction of being a Cambridge BA who has not recently graduated. Most Oxbridge graduates buy their MA for a few pounds after a short qualifying period.

He will be the third of the 10 county council cabinet members to announce his resignation this month. First to go was former leader, Councillor Shona Johnstone, after she made an "ill-judged" telephone call that led to the chosen candidate for chief executive pulling out. Her departure was swiftly followed by that of the chairman of the appointments panel, Councillor Alan Melton, who cited personal reasons.

*Cllr Lucas will be stepping down in February.

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