Police chief to take top health job

SUFFOLK'S police chief is to take on a £37,500 job as a non-executive director of the county's health trust, it has emerged.Alastair McWhirter will become chairman of Suffolk Primary Care Trust's board when he retires as chief constable at the end of March, following a 30-year police career.

By Danielle Nuttall

SUFFOLK'S police chief is to take on a £37,500 job as a non-executive director of the county's health trust, it has emerged.

Alastair McWhirter will become chairman of Suffolk Primary Care Trust's board when he retires as chief constable at the end of March, following a 30-year police career.

Mr McWhirter's new role will involve working three days per week, for which he will receive an annual salary of £37,500. The appointment has been agreed until March 31, 2011.


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He said: “This will be a very challenging role and I am really pleased to be able to continue to help the public of Suffolk.

“It is a very important position and I know some very hard decisions have to be made in the next few years.

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“I applied for this position because I felt I could bring skills and experience from my current role into a different aspect of public service.

“I am keen to ensure that people using the health service in Suffolk get the best and most appropriate care from a rapidly changing organisation.”

Mr McWhirter, 53, who is married to Jenny, and has two children, has led Suffolk Constabulary since February 2003.

He was formerly the national spokesman on Rural Policing for the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and represented the service on a wide range of other issues such as public order policing and air operations.

Mr McWhirter was born in Lanarkshire, Scotland, and was educated at Hamilton Academy. He taught English and drama in Winchester, Hampshire, before leaving to join Hampshire Constabulary in 1977.

The Appointments Commission selected him for his new role with the PCT, and he will take over from Tony Robinson.

Suffolk PCT's Chief Executive, Carole Taylor-Brown, said: “I am delighted Mr McWhirter has accepted the invitation to lead the board.

“He has a great deal of experience and has a wide range of abilities that will be extremely useful to us. I would also like to thank Tony Robinson, whom we were exceptionally pleased to have as interim chairman of Suffolk PCT. He has commanded this fairly new organisation's board with great confidence.”

Leading health expert Michael Mandelstam, who has led the campaign for a new community hospital in west Suffolk - which looked in jeopardy this week - said he hoped Mr McWhirter would take a very active role.

“We would hope he would take the job very seriously in respect of looking at the interests of the local community and that he would adopt a very questioning role in relation to what's proposed by executives on the board,” he added.

All non-executive appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process.

Suffolk PCT came into existence on October 1, 2006, to replace Suffolk West PCT and the three Suffolk East PCTs.

Serving a population of 585,000, the PCT commissions health care, provides community health services and strives to improve health for the population of Suffolk, excluding Waveney which is covered by a separate PCT.

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