16 Sep 2020

Professor Sarah O’Brien, Clinical Accountable Officer at St Helens CCG and Executive Director of People’s Services at St Helens Council, is leaving her dual role after being offered the post of Executive Director of Strategy & System Development for the Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership.

Sarah said:  “I will be very sorry to leave my role in St Helens - this has not been an easy decision, but I’d like to reassure residents and everyone I work with, that my new role means that I will still be part of the ‘system,’ working to improve health and care services across Cheshire and  Merseyside and given I live in St Helens, I will always strive to make things better for the people of the borough.  

“The new role involves supporting the development of further health and social care integration across Cheshire and Merseyside as well as working on addressing health inequalities.  It will be a big challenge, but I am excited about the opportunity to improve outcomes and reduce inequalities across our local area.”

Geoffrey Appleton, Lay Chair of NHS St Helens CCG said: “While this is a fantastic achievement and opportunity for Sarah, we will be extremely sorry to see her go. 

“It has been a pleasure working alongside Sarah with her boundless enthusiasm and work ethic and we have been lucky to have had her at the helm of the CCG for the past few years.  We pay tribute to her enthusiasm and passion for bringing together health and social care, particularly since her joint appointment with the local authority. “

Kath O’Dwyer, Chief Executive of St Helens Borough Council, said: “Sarah has helped St Helens lead the way nationally in health and social care integration through the innovative and award-winning St Helens Cares. Working across the council and CCG, Sarah has helped to bring about collaborative approaches that have benefitted residents and created great links between health and social care staff such as the Shared Cares Record and Contact Cares service. 

“Sarah has also led the people’s services directorate through a period of change and particular challenges dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. I know she is passionate about supporting those who work with her and will be sad to leave those teams. She is a real asset to the councils executive leadership team and will be a real loss to the council.

“I’m sure she is proud of the huge strides in embracing innovation that the integrated services have shown under her leadership and will continue to support this work and champion what is being done here in St Helens in her new role at the Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership.” 

St Helens Council Leader David Baines said: “Sarah has been instrumental in the change and transformation of St Helens Borough Council during her time with us, helping us establish St Helens Cares –  a great model to sustainably manage health and care and improve the lives of so many people in our borough – not to mention her vital work in recent months during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“On behalf of everyone at St Helens Borough Council, I’d like to thank Sarah for her service to our borough and wish her the very best for her future endeavours.”

Sarah will continue as the Clinical Accountable Officer for NHS St Helens CCG and Executive Director of People’s Services for St Helens Council until she takes up her new post. 

Her appointment at the Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership is the result of a rigorous selection process, aided by partners across the region.

As Executive Director of Strategy and System Development, she will be pivotal in supporting the development of place-based commissioning and provision, as well as ensuring the Partnership’s strategy centres around population health, reducing inequalities and obtaining the benefits of inter-organisational cooperation.