THE former chair of NHS West Mercia cluster of Primary Care Trusts (PCT’s) has been appointed as the independent chair of the Future of Acute Hospital Services in Worcestershire programme.

Joanna Newton takes over from David Williams from NHS England who has been leading the project on an interim basis.

She said: "I’m delighted to be joining the Future of Acute Hospital Services in Worcestershire programme at such an exciting time.

"For the first time there is a clear clinical way forward for acute services in the county and I feel we have a real chance of ensuring that Worcestershire’s acute services can be clinically and financially sustainable for many years to come. I’ve been involved with the NHS locally in Worcestershire and I‘m looking forward to my part in this programme.”

David Williams, director of operations and delivery at NHS England Local Area Team, said: “We are at a stage where it is now right for NHS England to take a step back and to return to its primary function of scrutinising the project.

"Responsibility for the project rests with the three clinical commissioning groups and they will be pushing it forward under the chairmanship of Joanna. We are lucky to have secured someone of Joanna’s experience and expertise as chair of the programme going forward.”