The new Accountable Officer for Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has pledged to continue to support her primary care colleagues at a time of unprecedented demand.
Dr Penny Morris, who works at Darwen Healthcare, says local GPs are on a transformational journey to become resilient and sustainable for the local population.
Born and bred in Burnley, Dr Morris graduated from Manchester University in 1990, completed her GP training in Lancashire and has been a GP Partner in Darwen for 27 years.
She was elected to the CCG’s Governing Body in March 2013 as Lead GP for Integrated Care, with responsibility for developing the four neighbourhoods in Blackburn with Darwen to provide holistic patient care.
Dr Morris said: “During my six month interim role, I would like to continue the ‘clinically-led’ CCG ethos, which puts patient care and experience at the very heart of everything we do and is embedded in our constitution.
“We also need to find the right long term solution to leadership in Blackburn with Darwen. I hope to bring stability during the next six months and while we are in a time of great change across the landscape.
“I am committed to supporting primary care but I also believe we need to work together to address the financial pressures as we have a joint responsibility. I am aware of the pressures on the frontline and my door is always open – I am keen to hear ideas on how can make improvements and face the challenges ahead.
“We are preparing for another potentially tough winter and all our plans are in place. We will continue to work closely with our patients, colleagues and partners to ensure we keep people healthy and safe this winter. Our population has difficult health challenges and winter can be serious particularly for people aged over 65 and those with long term health conditions. The system also needs to be resilient and ensure its house is in order so it can meet the high demand and complex needs of our patients.”
Chair of the CCG Graham Burgess said: “I am delighted with appointment of Drt Penny Morris to this important role. She has a great track record and is well respected as a local GP. She will provide both stability and excellent strategic leadership to the CCG in this period of change and challenge.”