The vision, as described in the ICS strategy, is for everyone in Cheshire and Merseyside to have a great start in life and get the support they need to stay healthy and live longer.

This will be achieved by working together as equal partners, to tackle health inequalities and improve the lives of the poorest fastest.

Joining up health and care is nothing new – we have been working towards this for some years, and we want to continue to build on this excellent work. This includes further strengthening the incredible joint working we have seen throughout the COVID -19 pandemic, which has made a massive difference to the lives of local people and their families.

The four key strategic objectives:

1. Improve population health and healthcare

2. Tackle health inequality, improving outcomes and access to services

3. Enhancing quality, productivity and value for money

4. Helping the NHS to support broader social and economic development

We all want the very best health and wellbeing for our families, friends, communities and for ourselves. And when we need to access health and care services, we want these to provide us with the best care and the best outcomes.

Prior to the COVID -19, the Cheshire and Merseyside ICS engaged extensively across the partnership to understand the key health and wellbeing issues for our people and communities.

This engagement reinforced that we need to address several significant and well documented challenges. These are not unique to Cheshire and Merseyside, although some problems are worse for us locally.

Stroke, suicide, alcohol related harm and death from violent crime were all identified for targeted whole system action, together with better access to services in deprived communities.

To achieve the vision, the ICS will need to make some tough decisions. But we must be resolute in our ambition to collaborate to deliver improved health and wellbeing of the 2.5m people of all ages living across our communities.

We have seen that it can be done. Throughout the pandemic, a shared purpose has enabled us all to fully appreciate each partner’s contribution. It’s vital to build on this as we consider our future ways of working.

New terminologies

An Integrated Care System (ICS) brings together the NHS organisations, councils, and wider partners in a defined geographical area to deliver more joined up approaches to improving health & care outcomes.

There are 42 ICSs in England, including Cheshire and Merseyside, which is one of the largest in the country.

From April 2022, the Cheshire and Merseyside ICS will have legal status and will include a statutory Integrated Care Partnership (ICP), and a new NHS body called the Integrated Care Board (ICB). These are described in more detail below.

Recruitment to key senior positions in NHS Cheshire and Merseyside Integrated Care Board (ICB)  continues.

Following a robust process, the Health and Care Partnership has made a number of exciting, high-profile appointments to provide the strategic leadership of the ICB, which have now be confirmed. These appointments are made subject to the passage of the Health and Care Bill through parliament, which aims to establish the ICB as a statutory body from 1 July 2022.

Medical Director

Professor Rowan Pritchard-Jones will join as Medical Director. He is currently Medical Director at St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and brings extensive academic experience, as well as his clinical and leadership expertise. Rowan trained in Bristol as a plastic reconstructive surgeon with a special interest in skin cancer. He has worked all over the world, earning his Fellowship in the United States and working with the US Army Trauma Team. He has performed cleft reconstruction in the Nepalese Himalayas and served as a British Military Surgeon.

Associate Medical Director

Dr Fiona Lemmens will join the ICB as Associate Medical Director. Fiona is a GP in Liverpool and is currently Chair of the Governing Body of Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group. Fiona has also been strategic clinical lead for Cheshire and Merseyside’s elective recovery programme and has led the Covid vaccination programme across Liverpool.

Director of Finance

Claire Wilson, who is currently Chief Finance Officer at Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, has been appointed Director of Finance. Having started her career as an NHS finance graduate trainee, Claire has also held the role of Chief Finance Officer at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, as well as working at NHS England. She has held roles at local, regional and national level. Claire is Vice President of the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) and will take up the role of President of the association in 2024.

Assistant Chief Executive

Clare Watson, currently Accountable Officer at Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group, has been confirmed as Assistant Chief Executive. Clare has been in Cheshire since 2017, first as Interim Accountable Officer at NHS South Cheshire CCG and NHS Vale Royal CCG, and then as Accountable Officer of the merged Cheshire CCG since 2019. With more than 25 years’ NHS experience, Clare has a clear focus on integration and partnership working. Clare has a passion for commissioning based on holistic health and wellbeing, making a real difference to local populations.

Chief People Officer

Chris Samosa has been appointed to this role. Many of you will be familiar with Chris, who has worked within Cheshire and Merseyside Health Care Partnership for the last two years. She has spent her whole career in organisations across Cheshire and Merseyside and brings 30 years’ director-level experience.

Chief Digital Information Officer

Alex Chaplin will be the Chief Digital Information Officer of the ICB following his appointment to the Health and Care Partnership last October. Alex brings considerable experience, having held a number of executive and national roles, including National Delivery Director for Provider Digitisation, Digital Diagnostics and SRO for National Programme for IT since 2016. Alex has also led mental health services in Lancashire and was formally Executive Director for Global Business Services at the British Council.

Director of Nursing and Care 

The recruitment process for a permanent appointment continues. Until a substantive appointment has been made, Marie Boles has agreed to be the interim Chief Nurse for the ICS. Marie has worked as a nurse in the NHS for 38 years and has undertaken a variety of senior roles in the NHS, local authorities and commissioning. Marie has previously worked for NHS England in Greater Manchester and was also the Deputy Chief Nurse for the North Region. For the last two years, Marie has been the Director of Nursing for NHS England and Improvement but has worked with the Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership as Nurse Advisor to the Executive Team. We are also delighted that Professor Maggie Boyd has agreed to support the ICS with her strategic and professional expertise. Maggie Boyd has more than 40 years of NHS experience in clinical and leadership roles and has worked as a Regional Director in NHS Improvement with regulatory experience and particularly oversight of quality governance and leadership.

Place directors for NHS Cheshire and Merseyside Integrated Care Board 


Appointed place director

Current role

Current employer

Cheshire East

Mark Wilkinson

Director of Strategic Asset Management

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

Cheshire West

Delyth Curtis*

Deputy Chief Executive Officer (Health and Wellbeing)

Cheshire West and Chester Council


Anthony Leo

Regional Director of Primary Care and Public Health Commissioning

NHS England and Improvement


Alison Lee

Managing Director

Cheshire West Integrated Care Partnership


Jan Ledward

Accountable Officer

NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group


Deborah Butcher*

Executive Director, Adult Social Care and Health

Sefton Council

St Helens

Mark Palethorpe*

Executive Director of Integrated Health and Social Care / Accountable Officer

St Helens Council and NHS St Helens Clinical Commissioning Group


Carl Marsh

Chief Commissioner

NHS Warrington Clinical Commissioning Group


Simon Banks

Accountable Officer

NHS Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group

The Integrated Care Partnership will provide a forum for NHS leaders and local authorities (LAs) to come together, as equal partners, alongside important stakeholders from across Cheshire and Merseyside.

Together, the ICP will generate an integrated care strategy to improve health and care outcomes and experiences for the people in Cheshire and Merseyside, for which all partners will be accountable.

The ICP will be a dedicated forum to enhance relationships between the leaders across the health and care system, interact with and support the development of Place-Based Partnerships.

The Cheshire and Merseyside ICB will arrange for some of its functions to be delivered, and decisions about NHS funding to be made, in the region’s 9 borough places – through Place-Based Partnerships.

The ICB will remain accountable for NHS resources deployed at borough place-level. Each ICB will set out the role of designated place-based leaders within its governance arrangements.

Health and wellbeing boards (HWBs) will continue to develop the joint strategic needs assessment and joint health and wellbeing strategy, which both the ICP and ICB will give due regard.

Providers of health, care and support services will increasingly collaborate at all levels of the system. This is nothing new; there are some great examples of joined-up provider working, especially during the Covid pandemic. However, the current rules don’t always encourage provider collaboration.

There are two separate Provider Collaboratives for Cheshire & Merseyside.

  • The Cheshire and Merseyside Acute and Specialist Trust (CMAST)
  •  Mental Health, Community, Learning Disability collaborative (MHLDSC)

Both will agree specific objectives with the ICB, to contribute to the delivery of Cheshire and Merseyside’s strategic priorities and are committed to working together to support the delivery of benefits of scale and mutual aid across multiple places or systems.

Further information

NHS England and Improvement continues to publish guidance documents setting out how NHS leaders and organisations should operate with their partners in Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) from April 2022.

Graham Urwin has been appointed to the position of Designate Chief Executive of the Cheshire and Merseyside Integrated Care Board (ICB). The next step will be to recruit Non-Executive Members and Executive Directors to the ICB over the coming weeks