The challenge ahead

By Dr Niruban Ratnarajah

It’s a great honour, and also a great challenge, to be taking over as the new chairman of NHS Bolton Clinical Commisssioning Group.

While I am originally from Sri Lanka, I trained in Bolton and have worked here for more than ten years, now as a partner at Stonehill Medical Centre. This has given me a thorough understanding of the needs of the population and the health system.

I like the friendliness of Bolton; it’s diverse, but there’s a togetherness, which has become apparent during the coronavirus pandemic.

I’m also impressed with the collaborative work we’ve carried out, especially during Covid, and I want to build on that.

But I don’t underestimate the challenges. The pandemic has shone a light on the social factors that affect people’s health, which cannot be addressed by medics alone.

And there are big changes on the way for we professionals, with CCGs due to be replaced by new health structures.

General practice, in common with health and social care, face unprecedented demand and the pandemic has highlighted significant workforce issues.

One of my tasks will be to ensure that primary care is properly represented in any future setup - and the vital role it plays in ensuring that sufficient resources are provided and used in areas of greatest need. All I need to do is to point at the successes in Bolton that have helped to deliver sustained high quality care in recent years. 

I have only a short time to make the changes I want, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.

What matters is that everyone across Bolton, no matter their location or background, receives the best and most appropriate health care we can provide. If we all work together and put the community at the centre of what we do, then we will succeed.

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