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Back to the future for new member of the Board

A doctor who did part of his training at the West Suffolk Hospital (WSH) in Bury St Edmunds is now joining the Trust as a non-executive director (NED).

Dr Roger Petter has many links with healthcare in west Suffolk, including working as a GP in local surgeries, and has a unique “claim to fame” in that he delivered the last baby to be born in the maternity department at Newmarket Hospital in July 1991.

He joined the NEDs at our Trust on 1 March. NEDs are Board members without management responsibility, and at our group includes a University of Cambridge nominated non-executive director.

Dr Petter said: “At the end of 2022, and after 40 years, I retired from clinical practice and can devote my enthusiasm to this role and this Trust. I believe that what I can bring is all my past work and life experience,” he said. “I am very keen to get ‘stuck in’. I know this will be a huge learning curve and getting involved is the best way to tackle that.

“The role of a non-executive director is very much about understanding what goes on in running a trust and bringing a level of control and accountability. Part of the job is to question what the executive team is doing and ensure things run correctly.”

After studying at the University of Cambridge followed by training at the WSH, Dr Petter’s career included posts at a number of acute hospitals in the region, and in primary care as a GP. As part of his GP training, he worked at both Long Melford and Wickhambrook surgeries.

Throughout his career, Dr Petter has held a major role in teaching, mentoring and supervising both GPs, and undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Cambridge. “The link the Trust has with the Cambridge graduate course, and the training it provides for newly-qualified junior doctors is really important,” he said.

Dr Petter has also been closely involved with wellbeing and support for fellow clinicians, including medical student welfare; and with the “Doctors for Doctors” team, caring for staff at Cambridge University Hospitals.

In preparation for taking on the NED role, Dr Petter attended a Board meeting at the Mildenhall Hub, which is the base for a school, leisure centre and library as well as for our health, and county council, services. He said: “I was overwhelmed by the Hub, I thought it was a fantastic resource for the community.

“As a GP you gain an understanding and direct experience of how the whole system works, from primary care to acute hospitals, social care, hospices, the voluntary sector, and others. As this is an integrated Trust, I believe I can support those interactions and drive the progress in providing joined-up care.

“I hope my experience in acute and general practice, education and welfare will be skills and attributes I can use for the benefit of the Trust.”

The NED who previously held this role was Dr Richard Davies, whose tenure finished at the end of February, after two three-year terms. Dr Davies is also a GP, and Sub Dean of the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine. Trust Chair Jude Chin said: “I would like to express the thanks of the whole Trust to Richard for his hard work and commitment during his six years with us. We are delighted that Roger has joined us to carry on this partnership with the university, bringing with him a wealth of experience.”

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Dr Roger Petter

Dr Roger Petter