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Key appointment as change looms; A regional health chief has been appointed to lead the NHS North of England. Health Reporter HELEN RAE explains.

Byline: HELEN RAE

A HEALTH chief has pledged to put patients at the heart of everything the North East NHS does after being appointed to lead the region's new cluster of strategic health authorities.

Ian Dalton, who has been working at the Department of Health during the past year to help lead the Government's health reforms, is set to become chief executive of NHS North of England, covering NHS North East, NHS North West and NHS Yorkshire and the Humber.

He said: "I am very pleased to take on this important role and, together with other Northern colleagues, ensure the NHS in the North continues to deliver as we put patients at the heart of everything we do.

"It is essential that the new strategic health authorities (SHAs) cluster arrangements are embedded well in advance of the busy winter period and that we continue to ensure quality and productivity improvements across the entire NHS during this period of change.

"I look forward to working with staff from across the North East, North West and Yorkshire and the Humber and would like to thank them all for their continued commitment during these significant changes."

Sir David Nicholson, chief executive of the NHS, recently outlined clustering arrangements for SHAs as part of the transition to the future health system.

Each cluster will have a joint executive team and a single shared board of directors with staff continuing to work out of all current SHA offices during the transition.

The new SHA cluster arrangements will mirror the four commissioning sectors of the new national NHS commissioning board, which, subject to legislation, will become operational from April next year. Sir David Nicholson also announced that Mr Dalton will continue as senior responsible officer for the set-up of the NHS Trust Development Authority (NTDA) which forms a key part of the Government's health reforms and will provide central support to enable remaining NHS trusts to achieve foundation trust status.

From October 3, Mr Dalton will work alongside Sir Peter Carr, current chairman of NHS North East, who was recently appointed to chair a new national steering group to establish the NTDA. Mr Dalton will also work closely with Kathryn Riddle, current chairwoman of NHS Yorkshire and the Humber. She was recently appointed as chairwoman of NHS North of England subject to the necessary changes being made to the appointment regulations.

Welcoming the appointments, Sir David Nicholson said: "These key senior appointments will put us in the best position to manage the transition through to April 2013, ensuring quality and safety for our patients.

"SHA clusters are an important part of our approach to managing transition across the system in a consistent and efficient way.

"I would also like to put my thanks on record to Mark Ogden, Kevin Orford and David Stout, who have all done an outstanding job as interim SHA chief executives."

All existing SHA chief executives and interim SHA chief executives will remain in place until these new arrangements take effect next month.

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IMPORTANT ROLE Ian Dalton has been appointed to lead NHS North of England, the region's new cluster of strategic health authorities
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 19, 2011
Words:524
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