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Chair of local health and care group steps down


The Southern Local Commissioning Group (LCG) will see major changes in its membership in the coming months as the term of office, for a number of its current members, has come to an end.

Sheelin McKeagney, Community Pharmacist, has chaired the LCG for the past 8 years, from the original incarnation of the South Local Commissioning Group which was established in June 2007 into the current Southern Local Commissioning Group which first met on 7 January 2010.

There are five Local Commissioning Groups set up across Northern Ireland as committees of the Health and Social Care Board, responsible for addressing the health and social care needs of their local population.

Mr McKeagney’s leadership has been strong and dynamic. He has led the LCG through some difficult and challenging discussions with sensitivity and professionalism, ensuring that Group members and the public were fully engaged and included at all times.

Speaking on his last day in office, Mr McKeagney said: “It has been a great privilege to have been involved in the commissioning of local health and social care services for the residents of the Southern area. It has been important for our area that locally appointed representatives including GPs, councillors, community representatives and health and care professionals, are able to influence and challenge, on behalf of our population, when decisions are being made about the commissioning of local health and social care services.

“We have seen significant changes in our local services in recent years and the Southern LCG has invested significantly in many of these such as the community nursing at home and acute care at home services, securing additional ED consultations and enhancing local maternity services. I am particularly proud however, that the Southern LCG has regularly engaged directly with our patients, service users and the public, seeking their experiences of using local services and also their suggestions on how these services could be commissioned and improved in the future.”

“Over the past year we have held public events about Integrated Care Partnerships and their role in the delivery of health and social care locally, the views of carers and carers representatives on the provision of short breaks and respite services and more recently about urgent care services provided by our emergency departments, minor injuries units and GP Out of Hours services.”

“As our local population grows and ages, it has been necessary to ensure that the decisions we made are fit for the needs of our population now but also into the future. I thank the public for their involvement in these discussions.”

Mr McKeagney concluded: “I am proud to have been Chairman of the Southern LCG and I would like to pay tribute to all the members of the Group and staff of the Health and Social Care Board who have supported the Group over the past few years. I wish them all well in the future.”

General Practitioners, Dr Tom O’Leary from Newtownhamilton, Dr Walter Boyd from Clogher and Portadown dentist Paul Maguire have also been on the group for 8 years and have brought their own unique insight and experience to the Southern LCG. They have made a significant commitment to improving the health and social care outcomes of the entire population of the southern area. Armagh Local Councillor, Sylvia McRoberts, also leaves the LCG this month and her steadfast contribution to the work of the group will be greatly missed.

Finally, Lyn Donnelly, Commissioning Lead for the Southern LCG will also retire from health and social care after 26 years’ service. Lyn has worked for 20 years in Public Health as a dietician and was the manager of the Investing for Health Partnership in the Southern area before taking up post as Assistant Director of Commissioning with the Health and Social Care Board.

The recruitment process to secure replacements is well underway and it is anticipated that appointments will be announced shortly.