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ICS picks permanent CEO

Published on: 19 Feb 2024

An integrated care system has appointed a substantive chief executive after her predecessor joined NHS England. 

Karen McDowell is CEO of Surrey Heartlands Integrated Care System and integrated care board with immediate effect, they said last week.

She has been acting CEO since September, when Claire Fuller became NHSE medical director for primary care.

Ms McDowell was previously its deputy chief executive and chief finance officer, former CFO of clinical commissioning groups in the area, and has also worked in London and Greater Manchester.

ICB chair Ian Smith said: “Since taking up the reins last September, Karen has provided excellent leadership and stability to both the ICB and across the wider Surrey Heartlands health and care system.”

Ms McDowell said: “I have been proud to work in Surrey for the past 11 years and I too am a patient and local resident so the work we do has a real personal impact on me and my family.

“Whilst we are facing one of the most challenged times I have experienced within the NHS, I’m looking forward to continuing our journey with partners to transform and sustain local services, working with communities to reduce the inequalities in healthcare provision we know exist, and to improve the health of the local population.”

Three ICBs now have interim CEOs with no substantive appointment made: Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West; Mid and South Essex; and Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.