Devon’s health and care leader granted major honour

The leader of Devon’s health and social care system has said she is deeply honoured to receive the Freedom of the City of London as part of commemorations marking the centenary of votes for women.

Dame Suzi Leather DBE, who grew up in Devon, has spent her life improving public services and was one of 106 women granted the honour yesterday (7 March 2019) as part of City of London Corporation’s commemoration of the Representation of the People Act 1918. The act gave some women and all men over the age of 21 the right to vote.

Since June 2018, Dame Suzi has been independent Chair of Devon’s Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP), which brings together the county’s hospital trusts, mental health providers, local authorities and NHS clinical commissioners to enhance NHS and care services.

Delighted and deeply honoured

Dame Suzi said: “I am delighted and deeply honoured to be invited to accept the Freedom of the City of London.”

Last year, the City Corporation agreed to mark 100 years of female suffrage with the award of the Freedom by inviting members of the Court of Common Council and colleagues in their City of London Wards to nominate candidates.

Dame Suzi has lived in Devon since she was a child and attended the University of Exeter. She is currently a Deputy Lieutenant of Devon and is President of the Devonshire Association.

An outstanding ambassador for Devon

Dr Paul Johnson, chair elect of NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which will begin operation on 1 April 2019, said: “Suzi is an outstanding ambassador for Devon and has a distinguished record of public service. We are proud that she is leading the important work of the STP and offer our warmest congratulations on receiving this significant honour from the City of London Corporation.”

Devon’s health and care leaders are jointly delivering the Devon STP’s ambitious plans to put health and social care services in a stronger position in which to support the needs of local people.

Dame Suzi has previously held a number of high-profile national leadership positions in regulation, health and the charitable sector, including chairing the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and Charity Commission.

Locally she has chaired Plymouth’s Fairness Commission, the Exeter and District Community NHS Trust and Health Forum, a partnership body to promote public health, and was the first chair of St Sidwell’s Healthy Living Centre, which was the first combined healthy living and UK online centre.

The Court of Common Council, the City of London Corporation’s top decision-making body, yesterday set the final seal of approval upon the Freedoms, paving the way for ceremonies to take place at Guildhall, London, in coming months.

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