Former district nurse Amanda Cheesley is to lead the largest community health service provider in England from 1 April.
Amanda will take over the reins of Sirona care & health from current Chairman Simon Knighton who has led the social enterprise since its foundation in October 2011.
Sirona provides adult and children’s community health services across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire and Amanda has been a Non-Executive Director on the Sirona Board for the last three years.
Amanda has also held national roles at the Department of Health and was the UK professional lead for End of Life Care and Long Term Conditions at the Royal College of Nursing before this appointment.
“I am thrilled and honoured to have been appointed and delighted to be part of such a brilliant team of people. I am a Bristolian and my family lived and worked in the city for many generations so this area is where my roots are. My Dad was part of the group that developed the St Paul’s Adventure Playground and I was a district nurse in Bristol and South Gloucestershire early in my career and I know North Somerset well through family and friends.”
There are two key areas of focus for Amanda – ensuring the wellbeing of Sirona’s dedicated staff is supported after the intensity of providing care during the pandemic and that the organisation continues to work in partnership with individuals, communities and other organisations to ensure services meet the needs of people.
“Many of our staff and local people will experience long term issues relating to the pandemic including bereavement, Long Covid, mental health issues and family difficulties and these need to be addressed and support put in place to mitigate them.
“I think the next six to nine months will be a period of renewal for staff and the community and other parts of the system as we ensure a gradual return of services. We will learn from our experiences, what’s worked well and not-so-well, so our community services can provide the foundation for change to ensure people, families and carers can access the services and support they need in an integrated way.
“Beyond that, and over the next few years Our Taking it Personally approach of providing the quality of services that we want for our own families will help us make this a reality for those in our care and our partners.
“Partnership working with individuals, communities and organisations will be vital as we work towards the aspiration of the recently published NHS White Paper and the development of further integrated health and care systems.
“The users of our services and the skills and experience of our staff are fundamental to our ability to be responsive to the needs of a very diverse population. I want us to find ways to enable people who don’t feel they have a voice to absolutely know they do and we want to hear what they have to say and for them to be involved in helping us to shape our future.
“Preventing ill health, reducing inequality, delivering better quality services and ensuring sustainability need a multi-pronged approach to ensure that this is not just about health services or social care as there are other factors which can prevent people from being the best they can in their opportunities in life and the choices they are supported to make and their mental and physical wellbeing.
“All of us whether we are a user of services, a partner in the wider health and care system or a member of staff have a part to play to enable people to achieve the best outcomes for themselves and their families.”