Chief Officer Blog

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Professor Simon Brake, Chief Officer at NHS Walsall Clinical Commissioning Group has launched a new blog to give staff, patients, GP members and stakeholders more of an insight into commissioning health services. We hope you will enjoy reading the regular blog. You can give your feedback and let us know if there is anything you would particularly like to hear about by emailing

A bit about Simon:

Simon has overall strategic and managerial responsibility for the operations, governance and public accountability of the CCG, deputising for the Accountable Officer, Paul Maubach and ensuring the CCG meets its statutory obligations to commission the best quality services and provide the best value for money for the population of Walsall.

He has worked in health & social care in a variety of roles at local, regional and national levels for the past twenty years.  After graduating from the University of Warwick with a degree in Politics with International Studies, Simon trained as general manager in the National Health Service and has worked as an operational general manager in several acute hospitals, as a specialist health commissioner on a regional and national level, and as a civil servant in the Department of Health.

Simon has also completed an MPA (Masters in Public Administration) at the University of Warwick, an ERASMUS year at the Sciences-Po Bordeaux, France, as well as completing post graduate studies in conflict resolution. His most recent roles have been as Chief Executive of Coventry and Rugby GP Federation, Director of Primary Care for Coventry & Rugby NHS and Assistant Director of Adult Social Services for Coventry City Council. When he’s not at work, Simon sings in a couple of choirs, spends time with his wife and 17 year old daughter, and watches as many movies as he can!

21st September 2017

Hello and welcome to my first blog. I’ll be using this to keep everyone up-to-date with activities during the public consultation period on our proposals for changes to Urgent Care, Stroke and GP services.  If you want to receive a blog alert please email the communication team

There has been plenty of coverage in the local newspapers about the proposals we have made for the above mentioned services and I thought it would be helpful to be clear on some of the facts.

It’s all pretty demanding at the moment. The NHS as a whole is facing a wide series of challenges of a growing population, an ageing population, financial pressures, patients living longer with increasing and multiple long-term conditions including heart disease, diabetes and hypertension, and increasing patient expectations. Walsall has seen this evidenced through a significant increase in appointments, especially for older patients, more and more people are using urgent care and emergency services, some local services are struggling to meet national targets and requirements, which is leading to an overall increasing pressure on an already pressured health and care system. 

As an example Primary care (GP services) need to consider the way they work locally to ensure they are able to meet the changing needs of patients and the expectations of a new national agenda, delivering seven day a week services, from early in the morning until late in the evening, with good, safe and integrated out-of-hours arrangements in place.

Our role at NHS Walsall CCG is to ensure the health services we buy on behalf of local people are as efficient as possible, eliminating waste and duplication, and making sure patients receive the services they need in the right place and at the right time. However, every year it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to make these changes so how and where we spend money is becoming very challenging indeed.  This is why earlier this year we began talking to local people about future health services and how they may be delivered. 

You will recall earlier this year, we launched the ‘Big Conversation’ public engagement exercise. This was an opportunity to discuss with the public, our partners, the voluntary sector and patient representatives how we can improve healthcare for patients, the challenges the NHS is facing and what we are doing about this. The exercise marked the beginning of this conversation, with many people taking the time to share their views. The response we received indicates how much people care about their local NHS services and how willing they are to help shape what we do in the future. We had many examples of people’s own experiences and many ideas and suggestions for improving care. It was clear that people understand the pressures we are facing to ensure we have high quality sustainable and affordable services in to the future. 

The valuable input from patients and the public has helped to shape our thinking and we have now put together a number of proposals for delivering local health services differently.

You can read about our proposals for moving stroke services and the urgent care centre in the town centre, by following the links below:

These consultations run until September 22 and we are keen to hear your views so please take the time to complete the survey. If you would like a copy of the questionnaire in a different format or language please contact our Communications Team via email or call

You’ll be aware of the recent public consultation on possible changes to some GP practices in Walsall. This ran from July 26 to September 6 and has now closed. We have received a huge response so thank you to everyone who attended one of the events or filled in the survey. The feedback is now being analysed and a report with the findings along with recommendations will be discussed at our public Governing Body meeting. You are welcome to attend this meeting. Information about our Governing Body meetings, along with a copy of the agenda and supporting papers is published on our website ahead of the meeting.