Ex-MP Prior resumes top N&N job

Health chiefs today went back to the future by unveiling David Prior as the new chairman of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital Trust.Mr Prior stepped down temporarily in November after police launched an investigation centring on financial irregularities at the independent psychiatric hospital Cawston Park, near Aylsham, where he was a director.

Health chiefs today went back to the future by unveiling David Prior as the new chairman of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital Trust.

Mr Prior stepped down temporarily in November after police launched an investigation centring on financial irregularities at the independent psychiatric hospital Cawston Park, near Aylsham, where he was a director.

But last month he was cleared of any involvement and immediately threw his hat in the ring to get his old £22,235 a year job back.

And today the former Conservative North Norfolk MP, who previously served as trust chairman from November 2002, said he was delighted to be back in the hot seat after beating current deputy David Wright to the post.

“It is a wonderful organisation with a great many exceptional people providing first class healthcare to thousands of patients from Norfolk and beyond,” he said. “The last few months have not been easy for me and I have been overwhelmed by the support I have received from so many members of staff. I have had many jobs in my career, but in no other have I come across such a remarkable combination of talent, hard work and commitment. It is an incredible privilege for me to be asked to lead this successful and high performing NHS Trust.

He will hold the £22,235 a year job until 31 March 2011.

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And he plans to be back behind his desk tomorrow although he will not officially begin the job until April 1.

The key challenges were gaining foundation trust status, meeting the government's new 18 week waiting time targets and the uncertainty of the health care market, he said.

“The NHS is going through a period of massive change,” he said. “We have got 21st century facilities here and we are able to attract top consultants, we have got closer and closer links with the UEA medical school, and we are producing some outstanding nurses as well. We have got all the ingredients to deliver a fantastic service to people in Norfolk and beyond.”

A barrister with broad experience in the business world, he formerly worked with Lehman Brothers; Lazards; and British Steel.

He is currently Chairman of Premex Ltd and chairman designate of Aurelian Oil and Gas plc and has declared no political activity in the last five years. He said he had stepped down as a director of Chancellor Care, which runs Cawston Park last year - a month before his arrest.

East of England SHA Chairman Keith Pearson said: “My colleagues and I at the Strategic Health Authority are extremely pleased that David has been appointed to chair of the Norfolk and Norwich again. We have complete confidence that he is the right person to lead this outstanding hospital to become a foundation trust early next year. He has our full support and we look forward to continuing our work with him.”