One of Wigan’s leading NHS organisations has welcomed a new face to the helm.
Prof Craig Harris has been appointed as managing director of NHS Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
He replaces Donna Hall, who held the role alongside being chief executive of Wigan Council until she stepped down earlier this year.
Prof Harris officially starts work on July 8, but has already been meeting staff and partners involved in healthcare in the borough.
His new post will see him lead the CCG, which is responsible for commissioning healthcare for hundreds of thousands of people across Wigan.
Prof Harris joins the CCG from Manchester Health and Care Commissioning, where he works as executive nurse, director of safeguarding and executive director for commissioning.
He has held that role since 2013 and worked within the organisation for 15 years in total, through various restructures.
Prof Harris grew up in Hawkley Hall and attended Winstanley College, before studying nursing at the University of Central Lancashire.
He has worked in various hospitals throughout his career, including on the psychiatric and maternity wards at Billinge Hospital, as a staff nurse at Leigh Infirmary and as a charge nurse in the A&E department at Wigan Infirmary.
Prof Harris, who now lives in Goose Green with his partner and nine-year-old son, is delighted to be working in his home town again.
It comes at a time when there are many changes to the healthcare system in the borough, including the new Healthier Wigan Partnership, a new chief executive at Wigan Council and the upcoming departure of Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust’s chief executive.
He said: “I always wanted to move out of Manchester for the right role. I wanted something where I felt I could add value.
“Part of what attracted me to the role wasn’t just Wigan - though that was a real contributing factor - it was that this role is at the heart of the integrated care system. It’s strengthening the work with the council and developing with our acute colleagues that integrated care system, so taking the Healthier Wigan Partnership and making it a reality.”
Prof Harris hopes his experience, along with his perspective of being both a Wigan resident and public sector worker, will prove valuable to his new role.
He will be working closely with CCG chairman Dr Tim Dalton and has ambitious plans to visit all 60 GP practices in the borough within six months.
He hopes to involve the voluntary sector, community groups and representatives of different parts of the population, such as children, to help ensure the healthcare system meets everyone’s needs.