Doctors vie to lead NHS through reforms in Brighton and Hove

Posted On 28 Mar 2011 at 4:09 am

Two doctors are contesting an election to lead the new GP consortium for Brighton and Hove through the government’s forthcoming reform of the NHS.

This week up to 400 of their colleagues, including nurses and surgery managers, are expected to cast their votes to decide which of them will be given the £90,000 a year job.

The candidates are Dr Xavier Nalletamby, of St Peter’s Medical Centre, in Oxford Street, Brighton, and Dr Manas Sikdar, of Albion Street Surgery, in Albion Street, Brighton.

Dr Nigel Higson, of Goodwood Court Medical Centre in Cromwell Road, Hove, also put himself up for election as chairman of the transition consortium.

He has since withdrawn for personal reasons, according to the Local Management Committee, which is running the election.

The winning candidate will be expected to spend three days a week running the GP consortium during the transition as primary care trusts (PCTs) and strategic health authorities are abolished.

As well as being the public face of the consortium, he is likely to continue to practise as a doctor for one or two days a week.

Dr Nalletamby said in his candidate’s statement: “I have been a local GP principal for 25 years and in that time have been a trainer, appraiser, chair of Brightdocc (the original out-of-hours co-operative), chair of Brighton Local Medical Committee, chair of the Primary Care Group and Professional Executive Committee and a director of the PCT.

Deficient

“I would like us to … better engage with the public to improve communication and efficiency.

“In my opinion meaningful communication with primary care has been singularly deficient in recent years.

“We need to restart a GP discussion forum in some form and an interface with our consultant colleagues.

“Patients need to be consulted better through practice-based patient participation groups and this work has already begun.

“We will need to explore and expand the ways in which we communicate with the public.

“Like the rest of the public sector, we must reduce waste and our spending has to buy more.

“There cannot be any reduction in quality.

“We have to tackle some of the wasteful inefficiencies in the health system which we all know about but have not had the support to resolve.”

Dr Sikdar said in his statement: “I have been GP partner for four years central Brighton with a mixed population with high levels of deprivation.”

He said that he had been a salaried and locum GP for two years before that.

Determination

He said: “In my role of GP principal, I have a broad experience of the qualities that are stipulated in the personal specification [for the GP consortium chairman’s post] … assertiveness, sensitivity, self-awareness, flexibility, determination to succeed, political awareness, resilience and tenacity. 

“I am 39 years old (for another week), I live in Brighton, I have three children and I enjoy cycling and play in a part-time rock band comprising a range of local primary and secondary care doctors.”

Dr Sikdar is a shareholder in Brighton and Hove Integrated Care Service (BICS), a not-for-profit organisation which aims to improve local health services and the quality of care for patients.

He said that, if elected, he would “use BICS’ peer review model to try to standardise care and referral activity within general practice”.

He would “champion the NHS by drawing together local and national expertise from all sectors to provide high-quality, evidence-based, cost-effective, readily accessible services focused upon patient need”.

And he would “robustly hold providers to account for the quality, cost and accessibility of services they provide”.

He would also “use collaborative buying power to reduce the cost of all services to general practice such as medical services and supply, locum costs, office consumables, utilities, etc.”

Votes have to be cast by noon on Friday (1 April) and the result is expected to be announced a week tomorrow (Tuesday 5 April).

Those who can vote include GPs practicing in Brighton and Hove – whether they are partners, salaried or locums – as well as practice nurses and practice managers.

The two main organisations serving Brighton to be abolished are Brighton and Hove City Teaching Primary Care Trust – also known as NHS Brighton and Hove – and the South East Coast Strategic Health Authority – also known as NHS South East Coast.

  1. Craig Turton Reply

    I doubt many people reading this will realise that in the new NHS structure this is indeed a crucial election. Whichever candidate is successful, alongside the Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board and the Director of Public Health, this person will be responsible (though it is unclear if they will be locally accountable) for making the majority of crucial decisions about what NHS services are commissioned and how they will be delivered in Brighton and Hove. The Department of Health are also unclear about accountability or indeed how GP consortia, Health and Wellbeing Boards and local HealthWatch will actually work together. I attended a briefing at the Department a couple of weeks ago and was told that Ministers are “not minded” to issue guidance about how these new structures should work together as they think it best left for “local determination” (in other words they haven’t a clue how it is all expected to work in practice).

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