A former senior Brighton and Hove councillor has taken up a key post with a statutory health watchdog.
Geoffrey Bowden will chair Healthwatch Brighton and Hove, succeeding Frances McCabe who joined the council of governors at University Hospitals Sussex, the NHS trust that runs the Royal Sussex County Hospital.
Mr Bowden spent four years as a member of Brighton and Hove City Council and chaired the council’s Economic Development and Culture Committee.
He is also a director of Radio Reverb and one of the independent station’s presenters as well as former Latest TV presenter.
In his new role, he will be expected to be the voice of patients and communities, acting as a critical friend to health and care providers.
Mr Bowden, 75, said: “It is an honour to have been asked to chair Healthwatch Brighton and Hove.
“The voice of people and communities is central to the planning and delivering of local health and care services.
“At a time when many of those services and their excellent staff are challenged by the legacy of covid, coupled with long waiting lists and some services more difficult to access, the need for Healthwatch has probably never been more acute.
“My aim will be to ensure that we continue to review and challenge to ensure improved care for local people.
“We will work in partnership with local Healthwatch teams, health and care services and the newly formed Integrated Care Service for Sussex to ensure that the voice of patients is at the heart of service design and delivery.
“We will provide evidence-based reports and give praise where it is deserved. But we will also act on our statutory duty to hold decision-makers to account and make sure they keep their promises to local people.”
Mr Bowden has worked in healthcare communications for many years, advising organisations such as the Patients’ Association and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
As a Green councillor, he served on the council’s the Shadow Health and Wellbeing Board during the changes brought by the Health and Social Care Act 2012.
Healthwatch Brighton and Hove chief executive David Liley said: “As a board director, and now chair, Geoffrey has offered great guidance and advice.
“Geoffrey is popular with our volunteers, board and staff and holds the respect of many of our city leaders for his role in working to improve local services.”
Mr Bowden joined the board of Healthwatch Brighton and Hove in 2015 and became interim chair when Fran McCabe stepped down.
The board confirmed him in the role at a meeting this month for a term of up to three years.