Outgoing health board chairman ‘surprised and upset’ at County Council cabinet shake-up

Councillor Joanna Spicer
Councillor Joanna Spicer
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The outgoing Chairman of Suffolk’s Health and Wellbeing Board has said she is ‘surprised and upset’ after being replaced in Suffolk County Council’s cabinet reshuffle.

Leader of the council, Mark Bee, has appointed Councillor Alan Murray, cabinet member for health and adult care, to take over from Joanna Spicer as chairman of the board.

Mark Bee ENGANL00120110607132746

Mark Bee ENGANL00120110607132746

Cllr Spicer said: “I am surprised and upset at this change which follows a considerable degree of turmoil in the conservative group and continuing challenges to Mark Bee whose Leadership campaigns I have supported.

“The ambitions of the Health and Wellbeing Board should fit with all parts of the county council and are certainly not just about public health and social care.

“For nearly two years I have tried to lead the Suffolk Health and Wellbeing Board in an impartial way as a partnership of District and Borough Councils, police, the NHS and the voluntary sector to focus on joint strategies and action plans to work together to improve health and wellbeing of all people in Suffolk.

“I would like to thank board members for their enthusiasm and energy and terrific support for me.

“Councillors and officers from West Suffolk have played a really valuable role and hosted board meetings and I have always tried to ensure the voice of West Suffolk is heard as well as Ipswich.

“There are huge challenges facing the NHS in Suffolk and the new Clinical Commissioning Groups need help and support.

“There are well reported financial pressures at West Suffolk Hospital.

“However, with a requirement from Government for there to be significant shift in funding out of the Suffolk NHS over to Suffolk County Council (known as the Better Care Fund) means there will now be a Suffolk County Council political focus on this.

“This could be unhelpful given the pressures in our Suffolk NHS and risks losing the all important opportunity for the whole public sector to work together to prevent ill health and accidents.”

In other cabinet changes, responsibility for waste management will be transferred from Cllr Jenny Antill, cabinet member for recourse management , to localities and environment cabinet member Cllr Rebecca Hopfensperger.

Cllr Tony Goldson has also been appointed assistant cabinet member for heath, replacing Cllr Anne Gower who stepped down from her role as assistant cabinet member for health and adult care.

Councillor Mark Bee said: “From time to time, it’s necessary to make changes to my cabinet to reflect the ever changing nature of the challenges we face.

“I’d like to thank Anne Gower for her work supporting Alan Murray over these last few months.

“Joanna has devoted an enormous amount of time and energy into this role and I would like to thank her personally for all her work in this extremely important field.”