Northamptonshire will have two £100,000-a-year Public Health directors in the latest part of the county's local goverment shake-up.
Current health chief Lucy Wightman, whose joint position spans both West and North Northamptonshire, is leaving to take over as director at Essex County Council in April.
West Northamptonshire Council confirmed the move today adding it planned to split from joint arrangements with the North which have been in place since the two new authorities replaced one county council last year.
North Northamptonshire has already advertised for its own director with a salary between £99,017 and £112,314.
A West Northamptonshire Council statement issued on Monday (January 10) said: "Lucy will remain with us until the end of this financial year and, at our council Cabinet meeting December 7, members agreed for us to begin making arrangements to split public health services in the county and appoint our own director of Public Health.
"We are already in the process of seeking interim arrangements, so are well placed to cover Lucy’s departure.
"Part of our interim’s remit will be to work on the separation of services as we make the split from joint arrangements with colleagues in North Northamptonshire.
"We have plans to progress a number of projects across Adult Social Care, Children’s Services, Housing, Leisure and Public Health to ensure an ongoing, joined-up approach to wider wellbeing for the future.
"We also want to build on the good work Lucy has done with health in looking at population health and how we all work to a set of common outcomes for all our residents to start well, stay well and age well."
West Northamptonshire Council says the appointment will be funded by the Public Health Grant in accordance with the 2006 National Health Service Act.
Mrs Wightman joined Northamptonshire County Council as a consultant in Public Health and Wellbeing in July 2015 before becoming Public Health director and has led the county's response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
West Northamptonshire Council leader, Jonathan Nunn, said: “I’ve worked closely with Lucy, particularly over the past few years as we’ve battled Covid, and she has done an exemplary job in that time.
“I’d like to wish Lucy all the best for the future, I’m sure she will help Essex County Council take its public health services to the next level, and they’re lucky to be getting her.”
Mrs Wightman said: “In my six-and-a-half-years working in Northamptonshire, I’ve had amazing support from staff in public health, and many colleagues across the health and care system and wider public services.
"I would like to thank them for their diligence and professionalism, particularly during the past two years and the extreme difficulties presented by the pandemic.
“I will miss them all but I’m looking forward to a new challenge. I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone the best of luck for the future.”