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Prof Ian Cumming appointed interim chair of GHA board

Professor Ian Cumming has been appointed interim chair of the GHA board, part of an ongoing major restructure that aims to “depoliticise the running of the GHA.”

Until now, the Minister for Health had chaired the GHA board.

The appointment of Prof Cumming for an 18-month period is part of the ‘Reset, Restart and Recover’ plan announced last year to implement different accountability mechanisms as Gibraltar emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The newly established GHA board will operate as a unitary authority and will comprise 13 voting members, including six non-executive, six executive and a non-executive chair.

The new GHA board is accountable to the Minister for Health through the chair and is responsible for overall governance of the GHA, its strategic direction and its performance.

The Director General of the GHA, Dr Patrick Geoghegan, is responsible for the delivery of services and of the overall organisational strategy and value for money.

The new board will hold the Director General and the senior team to account for delivery against the GHA’s strategic objectives, particularly focusing on improving health and healthcare outcomes for the population.

Prof Cumming is a healthcare professional by background who has worked for the last 25 years as a Chief Executive in a range of local and national NHS organisations in England, including as CEO of the West Midlands Region of the NHS and as the CEO of the £5bn NHS organisation responsible for the education, training and development of the current and future NHS workforce.

In 2020 he became chair of the West Midlands Ambulance Service, Professor of Global Healthcare at Keele University, and the UK’s Ambassador for Healthcare to the Overseas Territories.

In that latter role, he has worked closely with Gibraltar over the last 12 months in his role as chairman of the Gibraltar COVID Vaccination Committee and had previously agreed to be Vice-Chair of the GHA board.

“I am greatly honoured to have been asked to take on the role of interim chair of the GHA to help establish the new governance arrangements that the Government has put in place,” Prof Cumming said.

“There are an enormous number of incredibly hard-working people in the GHA playing their part in delivering high quality care in Gibraltar, but we also recognise that there also many issues that need to be addressed.”

“I look forward to working with Patrick Geoghegan, the newly appointed Director General, and the rest of the new GHA board to establish and implement a new strategic direction for the GHA, focussing first and foremost on delivering high quality care to the people of Gibraltar.”

“I also look forward to working with the Minister of Health to appoint the six non-executive directors to the board.”

The ‘Reset, Restart and Recover’ reforms centres on seven key changes, including:

• The clear separation of the Ministry of Health and the GHA;

• The creation of a new post of Director General for the GHA;

• New accountability arrangements between the GHA and the Ministry of Health;

• The creation of formal sub-committees of the GHA Board focussing on Quality, Workforce and Finance;

• New partnership forum arrangements between the GHA and the Trade Unions;

• The creation of a new Finance Director post for the GHA; and

• The establishment of a “Reset, Restart and Recover” transformation team.

The GHA is responsible for the delivery of health care to the people of Gibraltar and now that the Ministry of Health has been separated from the daily running of the authority, the ministry’s role is to set the policy direction and priorities for healthcare services, hold the GHA to account for delivering the right services in the right place at the right time, ensure robust regulatory arrangements and, working with the Director of Public Health, protect and improve the health of the population.

“These new arrangements are as a result of a serious and genuine desire to transform the GHA and how it is held to account by the Government through the GHA board in its delivery of services,” said Samantha Sacramento, the Minister of Health.

“Prof Cumming brings with him extensive leadership and management experience in healthcare and in the last year he has demonstrated a loyalty and affinity to Gibraltar and a desire to be a driver of the change that we need.”

“The last two years have taken their toll on the GHA and as we reset, it is time to invigorate and change how we do things for the better, and given his absolute commitment to Gibraltar, I could think of no one better to kick start this new way of working and to trigger the dramatic change needed, and I welcome him to this new and very exciting role.”

“The approach that I announced in November is revolutionary and landmark.”

“The only motivation in the restructure of the GHA is to improve the management of the GHA to ensure the delivery of the best healthcare for the people of Gibraltar with a board of experienced and dynamic professionals [and] of non-executive directors, who under the leadership of the Chairman, shall vigorously and robustly hold the leadership team of the GHA to account.”

“We are now in the process of appointing the other non-executive members of the GHA Board.”

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