THE appointment of a Cambridge-based Labour Party activist as the first chairman of the enlarged Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust could rekindle fears that Huntingdonshire patients will lose out. The appointment of Maureen Donnelly, who has no previous N
THE appointment of a Cambridge-based Labour Party activist as the first chairman of the enlarged Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust could rekindle fears that Huntingdonshire patients will lose out.
The appointment of Maureen Donnelly, who has no previous NHS experience, will re-fuel fears the new trust will be "Cambridge-centric" and that NHS cash that should be spent in Huntingdonshire will be siphoned off to prop up inefficient activities in Cambridge, as has already happened this year.
While Huntingdonshire PCT has operated consistently within its budget since it was formed in 2001, trusts in Cambridge city and South Cambridgeshire have been losing money hand over fist. Their combined deficit last March was £50million, and £13million earmarked for health improvements in Huntingdonshire was siphoned off by the SHA to prop up deficits in more affluent parts of the county.
The enlarged trust, which provides GP and NHS dental services and which takes over from district-based PCTs in October, will cover the whole of the county. Peterborough retains its own PCT.
Ms Donnelly, who lives in Cambridge and will be paid £35,000 a year for the new role, is a former vice-chairman of the south-east region of the Trades Union Congress.
A spokesman for the East of England Strategic Health Authority said she had "an excellent track record in business management, predominantly in the telecoms sector, as commercial director and more recently advising chief executives and managing directors on strategic direction. She has also been a member of the South East Economic Planning Council."
She is also a member of the corporation (governor) of Hills Road Sixth Form College, in Cambridge, and chairman and trustee of One World Action, a charity working in the developing world.
The SHA said she had declared political activity in the last five years, standing as a candidate and canvassing on behalf of the Labour Party.
As reported exclusively in The Hunts Post, the former chairman of the Hunts trust, Michael Lynch, was an unsuccessful candidate for the new chairmanship.
He was an outspoken critic of the Government's plans to absorb Hunts solvent trust into one in which it would be swamped by trusts with records of serious financial under-achievement.
Ms Donnelly told The Hunts Post that she would spend the next two months in listening mode, starting with a meeting yesterday (Tuesday) with Huntingdonshire PCT.
"Hunts has a strong local focus, and I want to retain that. It is my very strong determination to keep the strengths that are already there, and Hunts is a very strong trust."
Recruitment for the chief executive of Cambridgeshire PCT will begin shortly. Interviews are expected to be held in September, leaving interim arrangements in place for the launch of the new trust.