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NHSE appoints ICS chief as medical director

Published on: 30 Aug 2023

NHS England has appointed an integrated care system chief who led an extensive review on primary care last summer as a medical director. 

Claire Fuller will take up the medical director of primary care role next month. Her predecessor Nikki Kanani stepped down in July 2022 on a secondment to the chief delivery office team as director for clinical integration, while Kiren Collison, a GP in Oxfordshire, held the role in an interim capacity.  

Professor Fuller has led Surrey Heartlands Integrated Care System since 2017, becoming its chief executive last summer when it became statutory. Previously, she was the accountable officer for the area’s clinical commissioning group and has been a practising GP since 1995. 

She is well known for her Fuller stocktake report on the next steps for integrating primary care, published in May last year with signatures from all 42 ICSs.  

Her main recommendations – of which uptake has been mixed – focused on creating urgent care teams in every neighbourhood, prevention, and ICSs’ role in managing primary care workforce planning, employment models and estates. 

NHSE said, in her new role, Professor Fuller will provide clinical and professional leadership for all primary care medical professionals, and be responsible for improving clinical care and outcomes. 

NHSE said that Professor Fuller will work closely with Amanda Doyle, NHSE’s director of primary and community service, on delivering the Fuller stocktake – including improving population-based care and integration – as well as the NHS long-term plan’s ambitions around improving health outcomes and primary care services. 

Commenting on her appointment, Professor Sir Stephen Powis, national medical director, said: “[Professor Fuller] is a highly experienced and respected GP and health system leader with the extensive knowledge and experience required to lead the NHS in improving primary care services for patients across the country.”

Professor Fuller said primary care is “where the NHS becomes part of patients’ lives in the most local, familiar and continuous way”. 

She continued: “I hope to bring that essence, which underpinned the Fuller Stocktake, to this role where I will both champion primary care, its teams, professionals and partners, but also provide accountability to them and most importantly the patients we serve and the communities we are a part of.”

This comes after interim director of primary care Ursula Montgomery stepped down in April