Two experienced doctors have been appointed as joint chairs of NHS Tameside and Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
In a first for the organisation, Dr Asad Ali and Dr Ashwin Ramachandra were elected as co-chairs at its meeting on Wednesday, 22 May, and will commence the role from 1 June.
The CCG membership is made up of GPs from Tameside and Glossop who, along with other health colleagues, are responsible for commissioning health services across the area.
It works in partnership with Tameside Council as the Strategic Commission, a model of working that was one of the first to be established and is being emulated across the country.
NHS Tameside and Glossop CCG Accountable Officer Steven Pleasant said: "I'm delighted to welcome two such experienced and well-regarded doctors to this role and look forward to working with them.
"This is an innovative way to further our integration programme and ensure that our vision to improve healthy life expectancy, outcomes and experience, as well as reduce inequalities, is built upon. Our Co Chair arrangement will maximise engagement with all members and collectively ensure we develop inspired solutions to the challenges we face."
Dr Asad Ali is a GP principal at Millgate Health Partnership, Denton, and has been working in Tameside and Glossop since 2007. He is a GP trainer and a GP appraiser. He has a long history of working within the health and social care system and was most recently the clinical director for the Denton Neighbourhood.
Dr Ali said: "I am passionate about improving the health of our population and feel general practitioners on the ground – working with nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapist, health care assistants and social care colleagues – are best placed in helping to deliver this goal. I want to support our primary care teams and ensure we can recruit new talent and retain our existing talent in Tameside and Glossop."
Dr Ashwin Ramachandra is a senior GP partner having worked at Market Street Medical Practice in Droylsden for close to a decade. In addition to having a special interest in minor surgery and MSK, he has come up with successful and innovative methods to provide effective holistic care for his patients. He obtained the Masters in Business Administration from the Alliance Manchester Business School (University of Manchester) in 2016 and is now on course to becoming a GP trainer.
Dr Ramachandra said: "I strongly believe that Primary Care lies at the heart of everything we do and I'm very passionate about it. Enabling GP practices to give excellent care and integrating the various local services, which in turn will provide effective and efficient care to those in our community, is the way to strengthen Primary Care. Hence, working in harmony with partners and stakeholders is the key to achieving this goal."
Dr Ali and Dr Ramachandra replace Dr Alan Dow, whose period of office as chair of the CCG and Strategic Commissioning Board has come to an end. The significant leadership contribution made by Dr Dow to drive improvements in the lives of those in Tameside and Glossop was recognised at Full Council on 21 May.