Another New Chief Executive at NHS Peterborough

Henceforth NHS Peterborough will be sharing a Chief Executive with NHS Cambridgeshire until such time as PCTs are phased out altogether. He will take on the massive budget deficit and replaces the interim Chief Executive put in place following the departure of Marco Cereste. The brand new man Dr Paul Zollinger-Read who starts this week talks to the BBC’s Paul Stainton and learns from the BBC that the Dental Clinic in Midgate is to close without warning. Broadcast at 08:36 on Tuesday 10th August 2010 in the Peterborough Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.

PS: Andy Harper on the way after nine, and a lot going on in his show this morning. He’ll be talking to a dentist today as well. Doreen Murray from Werrington was referred by her dentist for treatment to the Dental Clinic in Midgate, but she’s received a letter saying it’s closing on Thursday, and is worried where this leaves her and other patients.(TAPE)
DM: I have to be in a safe environment, because I’ve got heart trouble, and asthma, and lots of other things. The last time I had something done the hospital did it. And then I got a letter from this Dental Clinic telling me that I had an appointment. And then lo and behold, a couple of days later, I got this letter that said that the Dental Clinic is closing. (READS) “Due to circumstances beyond our control the Dental Clinic in Peterborough will be closed for business from Thursday the Twelth of August two thousand and ten. We are relocating the practice along with your records to our Cambridge premises.”(LIVE)
PS: Well NHS Peterborough has got its third Chief Executive of the year, and this dentist is run by NHS Peterborough. Dr. Paul Zollinger-Read , who’s currently Chief Executive of NHS Cambridgeshire will now share two roles. He joins us. Morning Paul.
PZ-R: Good morning.
PS: Nice to speak to you. A big task on your plate. Just a quick question about that particular dentist in Midgate, do you know anything about it?
PZR: Well I’ve only been doing the job for one day, so I will find out something quickly about that.
PS: That’s very good of you. very kind. Thank you. But a big job ..
PZR: Yes.
PS: .. for you to do, and a big job for your predecessors to do. Where are we at the moment? How’s your in-tray looking?
PZR: Well yes, the in-tray is fairly full, as you would expect. But the Government, you’ll be well aware of the changes that the Government are bringing forward, and putting forward GPs to take on commissioning, and that PCTs will stop from twenty thirteen. So really what I’m doing is moving that forward. My job is about getting the GP practices right out there, so that they can actually commission the services that your residents and patients want.
PS: Yes. Do you know how long you’re going to have to share two jobs? Are you intending to do it until the end?
PZR: I’ll be here permanently. Yes.
PS: So you’re going to be here until the PCTs are no more.
PZR: That’s my understanding. Yup. I’m not here on a tempory basis. It needs some consistency and someone to follow this through.
PS: Don’t we deserve one person focusing solely on Peterborough?
PZR: I don’t .. I think that I can do both of these, and what we need to do is to get these GPs commissioning services. We¬†need to sort out what’s in the PCTs to support the GPs, and look at economies of scale. You know, there are huge cuts proposed across the public sector. It makes sense that we start to share our resources, rather than duplicate. So for the patients in Peterborough, they won’t see any change. They should still see the high quality services. We should be looking at what their needs are, making sure that their services are local. But the behind the scenes stuff, we need to rationalise, and we need to make sure it’s the most cost effective it can be.
PS: What’s the point then in NHS Peterborough? Why don’t we just have NHS Cambridgeshire and go back to where we were? You’re basically saying you can do both jobs, so NHS Peterborough’s Chief Executive can’t be that big a job, can it?
PZR: No I don’t .. that’s not the argument. In fact, the argument is about now.
PS: Well it’s about money, isn’t it? It’s about money, and the money we’re wasting and wasted.
PZR: It’s about getting more local, so, you know, Andrew¬†Lansley is very clear. GPs need to take up the baton of commissionings. So patients in Peterborough will have their services commissioned very locally by their GPs, who will organise into groups. And indeed the GPs in Peterborough are doing that. So that’s the front of commissioning, how we buy services. Behind the scenes, we need to support them to do that. So it is partly about money, it’s about value for money, but can we ignore that when we have such huge financial pressures on the economy? I don’t think so.
PS: No I don’t think we can. What I’m trying to say is, I’m trying to make the point that if you can do two jobs now, we’ve been wasting money for the last however long.
PZR: I couldn’t comment on that. But I’ve run two organisations successfully before, and it’s all about getting the right team in place, and making sure people are accountible, and being very clear. So that’s what I intend to do here. And it’s about supporting Peterborough. This isn’t a takeover. This is Peterborough needs its own focus. Cambridge needs its own focus. In fact it’s more than that. You’ve got to drill down into the local areas of each. And that’s what my objectives are.
PS: Will there be more sharing of resources though between NHS Cambridgeshire and NHS Peterborough, as we move to the end of PCTs?
PZR: In terms of management, yes. In terms of money, the money is clearly ring-fenced for patients in Peterborough, and the money is clearly ring-fenced for patients in Cambridgeshire. So you can’t move that around, you know, there’s a budget for patients there, there’s a budget for patients in Peterborough. But in terms of management resource, absolutely. More sharing, more efficiency.
PS: Are you confident you can enforce the savings plan, and get us back into a decent state of health?
PZR: Well one day in, the savings plan, I need to quickly review that in a great deal of detail. But I certainly will bring the organisation back into a state of health. Yes, I can guarantee that.
PS: It’s a big job, twenty million to save this year. We’ve, what, saved a million quid so far.
PZR: It is a very .. it’s a big challenge, yes. But, you know, let’s not forget we’ve still got the massive challenge of further savings over the next three years. Because the NHS is going to get inflation, which is very well protected compared to other public services. But we’ve still got a big job to do. We have to look at how we provide services differently. And there are issues in here about being more efficient in prescribing, making sure that people are seen in the right place at the right time. And a lot of that is I think if we can liberate the GPs. In the past we have tied up some of the GPs in bureaucracy. And that’s people like me have done that. And now it’s time to liberate them, and we should then be able to make those savings.
PZR: What’s changed you?
PZR: Well I’ve always been a GP.
PS: But you went along with it for a while, did you, tying GPs up in bureacracy is what you’re saying.
PZR: Yes. No. I made that mistake ..
PS: You’ve seen the light.
PZR: .. several years ago. But two or three years ago I realised the way of my errors, when I was in Colchester and freed them up in leaps and bounds changes. Came to Cambridge did the same, leaps and bounds changes. So you know I have absolute confidence in GPs being able to do this, and my job is to support them to do it.
PS: So you’ve had an epiphany. Hopefully they will as well. They’ll see the light.
PZR: Absolutely.
PS: Yes. It’s a poisoned chalice, this job isn’t it Paul? What attracted you to it?
PZR: It’s not a poisoned chalice. The people of Peterborough deserve high quality health care. My job is to make sure that I organise it so it happens. That’s what attracts me to it, making a difference to patients.
PS: Paul, thank you for coming on this morning, and speaking so frankly.
PZR: You’re very welcome.
PS: Paul Zollinger-Read. I’ll let him get on, because he’s got a lot of work to do. He’s the new Chief Executive at NHS Peterborough. He’ll share the role with his task at NHS Cambridgeshire, until the death of PCTs.