Sarah Blow appointed as Designate CEO for the South West London NHS Integrated Care Board

As health and care systems across the country prepare for new legislative changes expected from April 2022, Sarah Blow has been confirmed as the new Designate Chief Executive of the new NHS Integrated Care Board for South West London.

Sarah has been appointed following a robust external recruitment process led by NHS England and NHS Improvement.  Sarah will be taken on in the first instance as Chief Executive of the current South West London Integrated Care System (ICS) and designate Chief Executive of the anticipated NHS South West London Integrated Care Board (ICB) ready to take up the post as soon as the Health and Care Bill 2021 receives Royal Assent.

Sarah has 30 years’ experience in the NHS. She is an experienced Chief Executive and has led programmes across partnerships while working widely across systems to improve health and care services. Sarah has held operational and strategic roles with Local Authorities, providers and the Department of Health, and values and recognises that a strong collaborative approach delivers better care for local people.

The Health and Care Bill 2021, which contains a series of measures to formally establish Integrated Care Systems (ICSs), is currently at Committee Stage receiving a detailed examination following its second reading. The Bill will put ICSs on a firm statutory footing, empowering them to better join up health and care, improve population health and reduce health inequalities.

Each ICB will hold a substantial budget for commissioning high quality patient care and have the authority to establish performance arrangements to ensure this is delivered. A key element of preparing for legislation to take effect is confirming who would take up senior roles within each ICB. This started with my appointment as the ICB Chair Designate, and continues with the Designate Chief Executive, responsible for NHS budgets and functions, and for working with our full range of partners and local communities to improve services and the health of those we all serve.

The announcement follows the appointment of NHS ICB Chair Designate Millie Banerjee earlier this year.

Millie Banerjee said: “I can think of no better person to lead us through the changing NHS landscape. Sarah has a wealth of experience in bringing together leaders from the NHS, local authorities, community and voluntary sector organisations to deliver better health and care services for local people. I look forward to working with Sarah to continue our joint commitment to reduce health inequalities and improve the health and well-being of our citizens in South West London.”

Cllr Ruth Dombey, Leader of Sutton Council, said: “Our partnership work to bring together health and care over the last few years for the benefit of local people continues to go from strength to strength. Sarah is a local resident and knows our area well. She has a high level of ambition for the health and well-being of all our communities, and her leadership experience and commitment to delivery across both health and care makes her the right person to help us tackle the challenges that face us over the next few years.”

Sir David Sloman, NHSE Regional Director for London, said: “I’d like to congratulate Sarah Blow on her appointment as Designate Chief Executive of South West London ICB and look forward to working with her and the other new appointees on achieving the goals set out in the London vision. Sarah has been integral to the local COVID-19 response and this exceptional leadership will continue to make a real difference to patients in South West London in reducing health inequalities and improving quality of care.”

And Sarah has said : “South west London is a special place for me, I’ve lived here all my life and I’m incredibly passionate about ensuring the people we serve have the best care possible. The last four years have proved that when we come together, we can make a real and tangible improvement in services for local people. I am delighted to have this opportunity to continue to build on our achievements, drive forward change and to meet our ambitions for a healthier south west London.”

The next step will be to recruit Non-Executive Members and Executive Directors to the Integrated Care Board over the coming weeks with this process expected to conclude early next year. Subject to the legislation, the NHS South West London Integrated Care Board will become a statutory body on 1 April 2022, when all designated post holders will be ready to take up their roles.