Dr Avi Bhatia has been appointed as Chair of the new NHS Derby and Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group.
Dr Bhatia, a GP of 18 years and partner at Moir Medical Centre, has been appointed Chair of the strategic commissioning organisation, which will come into effect 1 April 2019 following a successful merger of Derbyshire’s existing four CCGs.
All Derbyshire GPs were invited to express an interest in the role. An interview and assessment process followed before the appointment was made for the role in the new CCG, which will cover all 116 county GP practices.
Already Chair of Erewash Clinical Commissioning Groups since 2011, Dr Bhatia was appointed Chair of the Joined Up Care Derbyshire (STP) Place Board and Chair of the Clinical & Professional Reference Group in the last year.
Bhatia brings significant clinical and organisational leadership experience to the emerging organisation and will spend time in the coming weeks and months meeting with CCG staff, members and other partners and stakeholders.
The four current CCGs will continue to operate until 31 March 2019, and the current Chairs will continue in post until then.
Dr Bhatia said: “I’m delighted to be Chair of the new NHS Derby and Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group and incredibly grateful to the other Chairs for their support in getting to this point and their leadership of their individual CCGs.
“There is a lot of ground-breaking work ahead as the NHS begins to develop and deliver its ten-year plan and work more closely than ever before with partners in local authorities and other organisations working to support people, to transform services.
“We will continue to do everything we can in Derbyshire to provide the care patients’ deserve and expect and work innovatively, effectively and efficiently to make the most of all available budgets in the face of increasing demand.”
Dr Bhatia has a special interest in diabetes, joint injections and minor surgery. He is also a GP Appraiser for NHSE and works as a GP Trainer and Training Programme Director for GP Training in the East Midlands.
During his tenure as Chair for NHS Erewash Clinical Commissioning Group the organisation has established a single point of access for patients, invested in primary care such as seven-day and extended access working schemes and set up access to diagnostic services locally.
Erewash CCG has also been a successful Vanguard site and set up innovative integrated community teams including a community GP, as well as starting and continuing the popular ‘On Day Service’ scheme to boost access to primary care appointments. The team has access to an acute home visiting service and an integrated care home service.
Born and growing up locally in Nottinghamshire, Dr Bhatia trained to become a doctor in Newcastle and completed his GP training in Nottingham.
Dr Bhatia added: “The NHS has changed dramatically in the years since I began my clinical career.
“But what remains true, of all NHS employees, regardless of the specific job they do, is our total commitment to putting patients at the centre of our work and striving to provide the best care.”
Dr Bhatia will continue to work in practice and see patients.
NHS England was involved in the interview process and confirmed Dr Bhatia’s appointment.
Alison Tonge, Director of Commissioning Operations for NHS England said: “It was good to be involved in the interview process and help appoint Dr Bhatia to this important position.
“We are looking forward to working with him and the new CCG in realising the ambition for all Derbyshire’s NHS services.”
Dr Chris Clayton, Chief Executive Officer of Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “I’m very happy to be continuing to work closely with Dr Bhatia and for his experience, knowledge and skills to remain a driving force for all Derbyshire NHS services.
“His passion and vision for the role will benefit all around him and I’m confident he will execute his position to the highest possible standard and help all NHS staff and partner organisations deliver for Derbyshire patients.”