Helen Charlesworth May appointed to new role of joint accountable officer for public health and care

NHS Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group and Cornwall Council have today (16 March 2020) announced that Helen Charlesworth May has been appointed to the new role of joint accountable officer for public health and care.

Helen brings extensive experience of working in both the NHS and social care. Helen joined Cornwall Council from Lambeth Council two years ago, bringing with her over 30 years of experience working across adult social care and health, driving forward innovative health and care integration.

The role will provide joint leadership and oversight, as services continue to evolve to meet the changing demands of our population. Public Health, health and care services will be better placed to develop joint approaches and services which respond to people’s needs and promote the wider health and wellbeing of people and communities.

The news follows last month’s announcement of a joint agreement between the two organisations to establish a new leadership role across both organisations. The role incorporates the duties undertaken by NHS Kernow’s chief officer and Cornwall Council’s strategic director of adult care and support. The joined-up leadership will help deliver on the new vision for health and wellbeing for the next ten years that has been developed by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Health and Care Partnership by ‘working together to tackle health inequalities, everyone can enjoy good health and wellbeing and grow, live, work and age well.’

Dr Iain Chorlton, Chair of NHS Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We are delighted that Helen has agreed to accept the role. She has already played an important contribution to developing joint approaches across our organisations. We believe Helen has outstanding skills, experience and attributes to work across the two organisations and the ability to create the right environment for these new arrangements to thrive, and to develop more integrated strategic commissioning for health, care and wellbeing services.

“This is a key step in working together to transform and develop services that meet the needs of our very unique population. Personally I am also delighted that Helen both recognises and supports the important role primary care will play in the integration of care locally, and her commitment to engage with our GP member practices.

“Whilst this is a significant and positive step forward I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Jackie Pendleton, our outgoing chief officer. Without her outstanding leadership over the last few years, we would not have the strong foundations on which to take forward this appointment.”

Cornwall Council portfolio holder for adults, Cllr Rob Rotchell said: “This is an important role which will have lasting benefits for the residents of Cornwall who use these services in the future. Bringing the two roles together will lead to a more efficient and importantly, more responsive service. I very much look forward to working with Helen in her new role.

“I have worked closely with Helen for the last 20 months and she has proved to be outstanding in her current role as well as being instrumental in the transformation of adult social care in Cornwall.

“Both candidates were excellent and I’d like to thank Jackie for all her hard work which has helped to get us to this next stage in providing people in Cornwall with a more seamless service between their care and health needs.”

Jackie Pendleton said: “I am incredibly proud to have been part of the NHS Kernow team over the last four and a half years. As a clinical commissioning group we have been on a journey of improvement and this has been evidenced by our assurance rating moving from inadequate to good and the removal of legal directions and special measures.

“Alongside this improvement journey, there has been another journey of integration between the different elements of the NHS, with colleagues within services provided by our two councils and with support from a really vibrant voluntary and community sector.

“We are now ready to take the next step towards establishing a strategic commissioning function across NHS Kernow and Cornwall Council and this feels like a really good time for me to step aside and welcome Helen to provide leadership for this next stage of our journey.

“I have worked with some fabulous people since moving to Cornwall and want to thank all of them for the welcome and support they have given me during my time here. I am looking forward to enjoying all of the other things that Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have to offer which was the reason we moved here in the first place!”

The new role is an interim appointment for an initial period of 18 months.