Stalwart Hampshire GP Barbara Rushton who has been at heart of Hampshire NHS reforms and Covid-19 vaccine programme retires

A GP who has been at the heart of the NHS in Hampshire has retired.

Saturday, 23rd July 2022, 4:55 am

Dr Barbara Rushton will be taking a step back from the health service.

She most recently served as clinical lead, in South East Hampshire, for the former NHS Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

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Dr Barbara Rushton standing outside number 10.

Dr Rushton said: ‘I want to spend much more time with my family, travel again – and hopefully return to Nepal, where over the years I have supported medical centres in the Himalayas, teaching healthcare workers in remote mountain communities, which is a role I find hugely rewarding.’

She started as a partner at Liphook and Liss Surgery in 1988, before becoming a GP there.

The GP has been at the heart of CCGs since they were introduced in 2013, as part of sweeping health reforms.

Dr Rushton continued her involvement with the practice after retiring as a GP in 2019.

Her role developed from being clinical chair to working across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, supporting primary care through COVID and the vaccination programme.

She also supported the development of the evolving Primary Care Networks (PCNs) – the local networks of GP surgeries collaborating with each other to build resilience and improve patient services.

‘I’m passionate about trying to tackle health inequalities and we have benefited from much learning around the vaccination programme about reaching out to vulnerable communities to encourage uptake of vaccine,’ Dr Rushton added.

‘I’ve also been leading the delivery of a safe virtual ward system across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight with community teams to keep frail patients safe in their own home, freeing hospital beds to help clear the backlog of patients awaiting treatment.’

Dr Rushton was previously elected chair of NHS Clinical Commissioners and being vice chair of Hampshire Health and Wellbeing board.

Since July 1, the CCG has become part of the Integrated Care Board (ICB) for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

She hopes collaboration will provide better care for patients.

Dr Rushton added: ‘We need to develop strong teams of health professionals with a mix of skills such as pharmacy and nurses working together and alongside GPs in hubs that offer staff with the right skills to support our patients.’