New health boss makes finance pledge

THE new chief executive of a cash-strapped health authority has vowed financial recovery will be a top priority during his temporary reign as boss.Mike Stonard, head of the Great Yarmouth Primary Care Trust, has been seconded to the Suffolk West counterpart from today as the authority's interim chief executive.

THE new chief executive of a cash-strapped health authority has vowed financial recovery will be a top priority during his temporary reign as boss.

Mike Stonard, head of the Great Yarmouth Primary Care Trust, has been seconded to the Suffolk West counterpart from today as the authority's interim chief executive.

The move comes after previous boss Tony Ranzetta took up a new post with the Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Strategic Health Authority.

Mr Stonard, who began his NHS career as a national management trainee at the West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, will remain in the role for six months until a permanent replacement for Mr Ranzetta is found.

The Suffolk West trust has long struggled with huge debts, and still faces a multi-million pound deficit which it hopes to reduce in coming years.

Mr Stonard said: “I am delighted to be returning to west Suffolk and I am keen to get to grips with the many significant challenges facing the local health system.

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“I know from experience that the NHS in Suffolk West has many dedicated, professional and hard working staff and I am looking forward to working with them.

“In the next six months it will be crucial that the trust continues to make progress implementing its service improvement plans and its financial recovery and these will be my top priorities from day one.

“One of the first things I want to do, however, is to meet as many staff in the trust and primary care as I can, to listen carefully to their views on our services and how we can continue to make improvements.”

Mr Stonard has also worked for the East Norfolk Health Authority and joined Great Yarmouth in 1999.

During his four years in Great Yarmouth, he was seconded as joint interim chief executive of Waveney PCT, where he implemented the findings of a Strategic Health Authority review into its management.

Mr Stonard's deputy David Matthews will become acting chief executive of the Great Yarmouth trust during his secondment with Suffolk West PCT, which faced massive end-of-year financial deficits.

“I know the area very well,” added Mr Stonard. “I lived in Bury St Edmunds for the first five years of my NHS career.

“My family live close to Bury and my niece was born at West Suffolk Hospital. I am looking forward to working in Bury again. It is one of the most beautiful towns in East Anglia.”

Colin Muge, the Suffolk West trust's chairman, said: “We are delighted that a chief executive of Mike's experience has agreed to be seconded to us on an interim basis whilst we work to recruit a permanent chief executive.

“I have no doubt that he will make a big impact and I am very much looking forward to working with him.”

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