A FORMER director of one of the largest inner-city boroughs in London has been appointed to lead the Capital’s new health and social care joint board.
Chief officer Robert McCulloch-Graham will be responsible for developing and overseeing a plan aimed at fusing the health budgets of NHS Lothian and the city council.
He was most recently corporate director for education, social care and wellbeing in Tower Hamlets – one of London’s most ethnically diverse boroughs – where he managed nearly £500 million of annual expenditure and a workforce in excess of 3000.
Among his chief responsibilities was bringing together health and social care services, with Tower Hamlets now considered a “vanguard” borough by the NHS for its success in achieving integration.
Senior figures on the board have welcomed his appointment, describing it as a significant development in efforts to overhaul health and social care across Edinburgh.
However, the move comes as managers battle to plug a multi- million-pound black hole. Earlier this year, we told how Peter Gabbitas, former director of health and social care, had left the city council amid concern about overspending in his department.
News of the departure came only weeks after we revealed home care in the Capital was set to be restricted to those with “critical” or “substantial” needs in a bid to address a £16.5m deficit.
George Walker, chair of the joint board, said: “This is a key appointment for the partnership and the council as we work together towards a fully integrated way of delivering our health and social care services across the city.
“This will involve the development and delivery of a range of front-line, locality-based and city-wide services, working with the NHS and other key stakeholders, including the ‘third sector’.”
He added: “I would like to congratulate Rob on his appointment and look forward to working closely with him and the partnership to help shape the future health and social care services for Edinburgh.”
Mr McCulloch-Graham began his career as a maths and science teacher before moving on to youth and community work, youth justice, social care and public health.
City bosses said his appointment would help energise reform efforts in health and social care services.
Andrew Kerr, the council’s chief executive, said: “We continue to work closely with NHS Lothian to bring Edinburgh’s health and social care services together and Rob’s appointment is an important step forward in this process.
“The role will be wide-ranging and immensely challenging, working with stakeholders across the city to deliver a great service.
“Rob brings with him extensive and valuable experience, particularly in terms of service integration, and I look forward to welcoming him to the team.”