Sacked Sudbury Town Council clerk Sue Brotherwood has been appointed as the new chairman of a town health group.
Mrs Brotherwood takes up the role at the head of Sudbury Watch – Working and Acting Together for Community Health – following a unanimous vote during a recent committee meeting.
The 61-year-old was dismissed from her position at the council, a job she had held for 20 years, in February for gross misconduct.
An investigation found she had misused public funds and carried out serious breaches of the authority’s procedures. Mrs Brotherwood said the council had never lost any money through her actions and claimed what she did was in the best interests of staff.
Outgoing chairman Peter Clifford said Mrs Brotherwood had long been associated with helping to improve health services in the town.
“Sue has actually been involved in Sudbury’s health scene longer than I have,” he said. “She has always had a deep interest in health matters and can now use her considerable skills and experience once again for the benefit of the local community.”
Although one of the group’s main objectives – to retain health services in Sudbury – is being realised with the new health centre due to open in the autumn, it continues to strive to improve the way Serco runs health services in the area.
Mrs Brotherwood said tackling a lack of NHS community beds – 12 of which are at Hazel Court in Sudbury – was another key issue.
“This lack of beds in the community means that the discharge of patients from West Suffolk Hospital is delayed unnecessarily because there is nowhere for them to recuperate before going home,” she said. “There are also insufficient places for vulnerable patients at home to get a few days respite.
“Sadly, Watch predicted this years ago when the closure of the community beds at Walnuttree was first announced and we hope the West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group will now urgently address this.”