Walsall Together is delighted to announce the appointment of Professor Patrick Vernon as the new Chair of the Walsall Together Partnership Board and Dr Anand Rischie as the new Medical Director of Primary Care for the partnership.
Professor Patrick Vernon OBE, who began his role on Friday 1 April 2022, has a wealth of experience in community-based organisations, including race equality, health, and housing.
He was selected as one of the 100 most influential Black Britons in 2021 and has written or co-authored five publications on mental health, cultural history, and the Windrush Scandal, helping to raise more than £200,000 for associated causes.
He studied law undergraduate and post graduate level at university. He was born and bred in Wolverhampton and was made patron of the African Caribbean Community Initiative (ACCI), a mental health charity in the city, in 2017, and was awarded an honorary PhD at the Institute for Research and Community Development, University of Wolverhampton in 2018.
Professor Vernon is co-founder of the Windrush legal advice clinic in Wolverhampton and he is contributing to the University of Wolverhampton’s research programmes around community development and health equity.
A committed campaigner for equality in race and health, he has more than 25 years’ experience as a senior manager in the voluntary and public sector, responsible for developing and managing health, housing and social care services, public health, regeneration, and employment projects.
Replacing Anne Baines as Chair, he arrives at Walsall Together from Harrow Council in north west London where he served as Independent Equality & Diversity Adviser from September 2020 and also Specialist Adviser to the Centre for Ageing Better.
Awarded the OBE in 2012 for tackling health inequalities, he is determined to lead Walsall Together to a better future.
Professor Vernon said: “I’m excited to be joining such a successful partnership that is already making a positive impact on Walsall’s communities. I’m really looking forward to helping it move to the next phase of its journey and believe I can bring a fresh perspective; advancing the health inequalities and equalities agenda for Walsall.”
Also joining the partnership is Dr Rischie who brings with him a wealth of experience and knowledge. He has been a local GP for just over 15 years and a clinical leader in Walsall for the last 12 years. He was a member of the Professional Executive Committee, a Governing Body member and lead for urgent care, before becoming the Clinical Chair of Walsall Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in 2016. He is currently a governing body member of the Black Country and West Birmingham CCG.
He has special interests in Diabetes and re-designing urgent care services and as well as helping with establishment of the Primary Care Networks and he also supported the development of Walsall Together, helping to bring together and engage health and social care stakeholders and undertake governance reviews.
As part of his new role he will be responsible for supporting the partnership in facilitating change, through service integration, acting as the lead representative on behalf of primary care.
He will continue to work closely with key stakeholders focusing on investment in prevention and early intervention services, helping to build resilient communities and improve the overall health, care and well-being outcomes for the people of Walsall.
Using his expertise and knowledge, Dr Rischie will lead in the development of a partnership primary care strategy, and provide advice to the partnership board on primary care policy development. He will support Primary Care Networks and Walsall Together in the implementation of initiatives to establish new ways of working and sustainable services for the future.
Dr Rischie said: “I am very passionate about the residents of Walsall and the concept of the Long Term Plan and how the health, social care and well-being needs of our local communities can be catered for by wrapping services around them.
When I applied for this job the challenge put forward was how could I help to embed primary care into Walsall Together. I think the challenge for Walsall Together more broadly is actually how we embed our citizens into primary care and into Walsall Together. I really want to take our services into our communities and work closely with Primary Care Networks in delivering care closer to home.
We’ve come along towards this with the development of PCNs and locality teams. It is just about connecting those dots now, bringing people together and making sure there is ownership to deliver on our big programmes such as resilient communities and preventive aspects of long term conditions.
Walsall Together has a real opportunity to look beyond just health and influence every aspect of the wider determinants of health – poverty, unemployment, housing, education etc.
I would like to see a fully integrated health, social and well-being services which means citizens are given the right advice and seen by the right person in the quickest possible time.”
Matthew Dodd, Director of Transformation for Walsall Together, said: “We are delighted to welcome both Professor Vernon and Dr Rischie to Walsall Together. They have joined us at a really good time as we move forward as a partnership. We have lots to do and a very ambitious agenda. It’s an exciting stage and we look forward to their vision, drive and support as we continue on our journey.”