East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are delighted to welcome Dr Julie Higgins as their new joint Chief Officer.
Julie has held a number of senior NHS positions including Chief Executive, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Public Health. She was the Director of Public Health at Salford Primary Care Trust (PCT) and while in this role was the vice-Chair of the Greater Manchester Public Health Network (GMPHN). Following this, Julie worked as the Chief Executive for Rochdale PCT, and was then appointed as Director of Commissioning Development in Greater Manchester with responsibility for leading the development of Clinical Commissioning Groups in Greater Manchester. In addition to this, Julie was the Senior Responsible Officer for large scale hospital reconfigurations including the improvement of child and maternity services in the Greater Manchester area.
Before joining the NHS, Julie worked at London University in the field of immunology after gaining her PhD. Julie is a Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health. She has a strong commitment to reducing health inequalities and alongside her working life has undertaken voluntary work with Youth Offending Teams.
Most recently, Julie was Director of Transformation – Learning Disability at NHS England, where she led on reducing health inequalities and improving health outcomes for people with Learning Disability.
Commenting on her new role, Julie said: “I am delighted to have joined the CCGs and the Pennine Lancashire community. There’s some great work underway to improve services and health outcomes and I’m proud to contribute to and lead this endeavour.
“I am passionate about improving the health of the population and doing all we can to prevent ill-health. The transformation of health and care services is one of the ways we can do this as well as supporting people and communities to look after themselves and be resilient. The publication of the NHS 10 year plan, which emphasises the value of prevention, transformation and system leadership, gives us a real focus to do this well and for the benefit of patients and communities.”
Dr Richard Robinson, Chair of East Lancashire CCG, said: “Julie has long recognised that communities and organisations working in partnership can bring real improvements to the lives of local people. Having lived some of her early life in the North West she identifies with the similar issues that our population struggle with and this insight will help enormously in developing the high quality, compassionate care that we continue to work for locally.”
Graham Burgess, Chair of Blackburn with Darwen CCG, said: “Julie’s appointment represents a major step forward in the increased joint working across Pennine Lancashire. This appointment will ensure consistency, release resources for the front line and further the drive towards integration of health and social care.”
The CCGs will remain as separate organisations and will continue to have their own Governing Body, and Julie’s appointment will ensure closer working and further collaborative working across the two organisations.