A former paediatrician who worked at the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven has been appointed to the Governing Body of NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Following retirement from her clinical role as a consultant paediatrician, Dr Deb Lee then filled the role of north Cumbria’s designated doctor for reviewing all child deaths.

She is an active member on the North Cumbria Health and Care Working Together Group and has led the development of a successful telehealth pilot which is helping to connect patients and healthcare professionals and reduce unnecessary journeys.

Dr Lee is also an active member of the Mothers’ Union, supports Fair Trade as well as Christian Aid projects through fundraising, having visited a project in Africa supported by the Carlisle diocese. She will sit as the secondary care doctor representative on the Governing Body.

She said: “I am excited to take on this new role. I believe that, by working together with our patients, public and professionals in health and social care, we can find solutions to our challenges to provide excellent services that are appropriate for our population. It will be a great privilege to play my part in continuing the process of improving healthcare in North Cumbria.”

Dr Lee replaces Dr Kevin Windebank who has completed his three years on the Governing Body having joined in 2016.

Dr Windebank said: “Coming from a background of looking after children and young people with cancer, the responsibilities of being part of the CCG has been a very enjoyable, interesting and a somewhat surprising experience. 

“We know the NHS is facing huge levels of demand and rather than simply "cutting care to save money" the CCG has listened to - and worked with - the local community to deliver and improve services. I really believe health care in Cumbria has taken a giant leap forward and is way ahead of many parts of the country in introducing truly integrated patient care.

“While the challenges of winter pressures, adequate staffing and an ageing population are not going away, Cumbria’s health and care services are learning how to work together to  benefit the whole population.”

Jon Rush, who chairs the CCG, said: “We are really grateful to Kevin for all of his hard work and commitment over the last three years which have been a really challenging time for health services in our area. Kevin has always championed the needs of children and young people and has made a huge contribution.

“We are delighted that Dr Lee will be joining the Governing Body, as well as her medical experience we know Deb is a well-respected community leader who will bring challenge and innovation to our work.”

Dr Lee will take up her role in January 2020.