A leader who has spent her life improving public services has been appointed to take the helm of Devon’s health and care system.
Dame Suzi Leather DBE, who grew up in Devon, will work closely with the leaders of Devon’s Hospital Trusts, mental health providers, Local Authorities and NHS clinical commissioners to enhance NHS and care services.
Devon’s health and care leaders have been jointly delivering an ambitious plan over the past 18 months, as part of a Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP), to put health and social care services in a stronger position in which to support the needs of local people.
Announcing Dame Suzi’s appointment, Jennifer Howells, South West Regional Director for NHS England and NHS Improvement, said:
“We are delighted Dame Suzi has agreed to become the independent chair of Devon’s Sustainability and Transformation Partnership following a rigorous selection process.
“Suzi has a long and proud history of public service, both in Devon and more widely across the country. Her experience at a senior level will help greatly in her new role, ensuring we tackle some of the big health and care challenges in Devon.”
Dame Suzi has lived in Devon since she was a child and attended Exeter University. She is currently a Deputy Lieutenant of Devon and is President of the Devonshire Association.
She has previously held a number of high profile leadership positions in regulation, health and the charitable sector in the county.
She has chaired Plymouth’s Fairness Commission, the Exeter and District Community NHS Trust and Health Forum, a partnership body to promote public health, and was the first chair of St Sidwell’s Healthy Living Centre, which was the first combined healthy living and UK online centre.
“Dame Suzi is passionate about health, care and wellbeing and having lived in Devon most of her life, she has good knowledge of our area and its significant challenges,” said Dr Tim Burke and Dr Paul Johnson, who chair the NHS clinical commissioning groups in Devon. “Her appointment offers a great opportunity to lead change in Devon as we move towards more integrated care for patients.”
Dame Suzi said that she was delighted to be taking on such an important role.
“When we are ill, vulnerable, or frail, we need care and support. Ensuring that is there now and in the future for people in Devon is vitally important.
“That is why I relish the challenge and opportunity of this new role. I am determined to carry it out to the very best of my ability.”
Dame Suzi has been appointed by the Devon Sustainability and Transformation Partnership. Her role has been approved by NHS England and NHS Improvement, and is subject to completion of standard NHS employment checks.
She is expected to take up her new role on a phased basis this summer.