A FORMER Hartlepool councillor has been handed a key role after a health shake-up in the region.
The NHS in the North-East has announced that its 12 statutory primary care trust (PCT) boards will consolidate into four, reflecting the PCT management structures already in place across the region.
The four consolidated boards, which mirror the cluster management arrangements already in place at NHS North of Tyne, NHS South of Tyne and Wear, NHS County Durham and Darlington and NHS Tees, will be put in place during the transition to full GP commissioning in 2013.
Steve Wallace, currently chair of NHS Hartlepool, was a councillor in the Throston ward from 1995 until last year.
He will now chair NHS Tees, which takes in the PCTs from Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton and Redcar and Cleveland.
Other existing PCT chairs will become members of the four consolidated boards to form the core membership alongside non-executive directors from each PCT.
The new consolidated boards will help co-ordinate work across the region during this time of “significant change”.
Mr Wallace said: “I look forward to the challenges that lie ahead as NHS Tees assists GPs in taking over responsibility for local healthcare services.
“It is vital for patients that the transition works smoothly, and my priority is to ensure this across all four PCT areas in Teesside while maintaining a close focus on performance and budgets.
“We are already working in cooperation with GPs and I am confident that the new GP consortia serving our communities will be well placed to take the NHS forward from 2013.”
Sir Peter Carr, chairman of NHS North East, said: “It is important that we have appropriate governance and accountability during a period of such significant change.
“The four consolidated boards will help ensure a smooth transition as we move towards the formation of the new national NHS Commissioning Board and as GP consortia emerge.
“I would like to thank all PCT chairs for working so quickly and effectively to determine the new chairmanship of the consolidated PCT boards within the four clusters.”