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An Argyll and Bute health chief is to take up a national social care role with the Scottish Government.
Joanna MacDonald has served as chief officer of Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) for nine years.
The move has been hailed as an opportunity for the needs of rural and island communities to help influence national policy.
Ms MacDonald will join the Scottish Government once her successor has been appointed to lead the HSCP.
Pippa Milne, chief executive of Argyll and Bute Council, commented: ‘Joanna has served Argyll and Bute well in taking on the challenges of integrating services and progressing solutions, not least through a worldwide pandemic.
‘Her knowledge of our rural and island communities and her genuine commitment to helping others will continue to support the area through her work at national level.
‘We will miss Joanna and wish her every success in her new role.’
David Park, NHS Highland interim depute chief executive, thanked Ms MacDonald for her service.
He said: ‘Joanna has been a huge asset to the partnership and to NHS Highland in her nine years with the organisation.
‘She has played a vital role in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and is endlessly supportive of the people in our care. Joanna is a champion in particular for those in remote communities. Her experience, expertise and humour will be greatly missed and we wish her all the best in her new role.’
Ms MacDonald said: ‘We all have families or friends who need social care services at some point in their lives.
‘It will be a privilege therefore to contribute to developing national social care policies that work for the people who need them. I will be sorry to leave Argyll and Bute. It is an amazing place and I will continue, where I can, to support its success.’
Recruitment for the role of chief officer is expected to begin early this year.