New chair appointed at Healthwatch Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

A new chair has been appointed at Healthwatch Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

Thursday, 16th September 2021, 12:35 pm
Healthwatch Cambridgeshire and Peterborough's incoming chair Stewart Francis.

Stewart Francis will replace Val Moore from October 1 after she steps down after six years as strategic lead of the independent health and care champion.

Stewart has said that will be a passionate champion in speaking up for local people and making sure they are involved in developing health and care services and committed to doing more to tackle historic health inequalities across the area to make sure that everyone can access good quality care, wherever they live.

He has had a successful career as a broadcaster and managing director in commercial radio and has also led public and charity sector organisations.

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His past roles have included Chairing the former Rail Passengers Council and Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Strategic Health Authority, which made the decisions leading to Royal Papworth Hospital’s move to Cambridge and the building of Peterborough City Hospital.

Until last year, Stewart headed the Board of not-for-profit trust Vivacity, which ran leisure, heritage, arts, library and health and wellbeing services in Peterborough for 10 years.

He said: “Representing people, understanding the issues they face and challenging systems – it’s in my DNA.

“It’s a time of big change, with much greater demands than ever before on our health and care services. So there’s never been a more important time for local people to be heard and involved in shaping the services they use.”

Stewart’s appointment – announced at our Board meeting on Wednesday (September 15) – comes at a time of big changes and challenges across health and care services.

One of his priorities will be getting involved in the development of the new Integrated Care System that is currently “under construction” for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and comes into force in April next year.

The new system aims to join up healthcare, public health and social care. Our Healthwatch will join local authorities, district councils, hospital providers, community providers, GP practices and social enterprise and voluntary organisations in forming a new umbrella organisation with a legal duty to work together.

The aim is for people to get care closer to home, break down barriers between different services and give everyone the same opportunities to live long and healthy lives.

He added: “The NHS and social care are doing fantastic things but being challenged particularly by lack of money and staff.

“Healthwatch is conscious of all those pressures and wants to be helpful and will continue to work for change with GPs, hospital trusts, local authorities and other partners to improve services for people.

“But when things are wrong or change is planned, patients and service users need to know somebody is on their side. Healthwatch most definitely is – and I will be a passionate champion for them.”