TWO leading lights of South Devon's health and care community have been named on a list of the country's most inspirational women.
Dr Sam Barrell, South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group's chief clinical officer, and Paula Vasco-Knight, South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust's chief executive, both made it on to the Health Service Journal's Inspirational Women 2013 list.
It's seen as a real coup for South Devon, where the integrated model of health and care has been applauded in recent months by government ministers.
Dr Barrell is a partner at Compass House Medical Centre, Brixham, which cares for approximately 11,500 patients, and also leads South Devon and Torbay Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, which has responsibility for the vast majority of healthcare in the area.
Dr Derek Greatorex, chairman of South Devon and Torbay CCG, said: "The women on this list are making significant contributions in their fields, helping to move healthcare forward in this country, and for Sam to be associated with such talented women is a real testimony to all her hard work."
In recent years Dr Barrell has led the GP community in Torbay and South Devon, working closely with patients, colleagues from secondary care, the local authority and public health to achieve the vision of integrated care, focussed on the individual.
This joined-up model has been singled out by Government as an example for others to follow, and Dr Barrell is often invited to speak nationally on the subject.
Ms Vasco-Knight was named in the top 50 most inspirational women.
She is a working mum with a busy professional life which includes involvement in many outside bodies.
Born in Liverpool of mixed parentage, Ms Vasco-Knight is one of only a few NHS leaders from a black and minority ethnic background.
The award comes after she received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Exeter for her outstanding contribution to healthcare in the NHS.
She worked her way through the ranks after graduating as a trainee nurse more than 20 years ago.
Ms Vasco-Knight received the accolade from the University's Chancellor, Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE DL, at the Great Hall on the University's main Streatham campus.
Ms Vasco-Knight continues to don her nursing uniform to return to the hospital's ward floors where she regularly treats patients.
"I am very humbled and honoured," said Ms Vasco-Knight.
"It would be wrong of me not to mention the exceptionally talented team whom I've had the pleasure to work with throughout my career, particularly at South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Torbay Hospital."
Professor Janice Kay, deputy vice chancellor of the University of Exeter, said: "Paula is nothing short of inspirational. Her vision, drive and success are key elements of ensuring Torbay remains an exemplary model in a changing healthcare environment."