CCG chief clinical officer retires after cancer treatment that leaves her proud of NHS

A chief clinical officer for a Cheshire CCG and former GP has retired after cancer treatment that left her proud of the NHS.

Dr Sarah Baker was diagnosed with a stage 3 carcinoma of the oesophagus
Dr Sarah Baker was diagnosed with a stage 3 carcinoma of the oesophagus

Dr Sarah Baker, who worked for Warrington CCG, was diagnosed with a stage 3 carcinoma of the oesophagus that had a 20% survival rate.

The married mother-of-two kept a moving blog of her experiences during treatment and her views on care in the NHS.

Dr Baker, 54, wrote about learning how important the little things are to patient care – like just smiling, looking people in the eye, and asking how they were feeling.

‘I also learned that we are incredibly lucky to have the health service we have got,’ she wrote.

‘I know we don’t get it right all the time. But I was proud of the services we commission for Warrington. And I was proud of the NHS.’

She had an exceptional reaction to chemotherapy at Clatterbridge, and then surgery at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital, and has been told she should consider herself as cured.

Dr Baker felt that the effects of the chemotherapy and surgery took away some of her drive and energy and decided to retire.

She returned for several weeks to complete a critical friend review of the CCG’s progress before her last day on June 30.

Dr Baker trained at St Barts and worked as a GP before moving into NHS management, joining Warrington PCT in 2007.

Dr Baker during her treatment

She led the formation and development of Warrington CCG from April 2011 and wanted the organisation to put patients at the heart of everything it does.

Dr Baker is a pioneer minister for Chapelford in Warrington, which is also where she lives, and will now be focusing on her ministry. She will be installed as team rector for Warrington West on 5 October.

When she announced she was leaving the CCG, Dr Baker wrote to her colleagues: ‘Together we have built a fantastic organisation.

‘We can be confident in knowing that people in Warrington now have better quality, better value health services than previously.’

Dr Andy Davies, chairman of Warrington CCG, said: ‘We all wish her well and personally I would like to thank her for all the hard work she has done on behalf of the people of Warrington.’

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