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Four NHS chiefs awarded birthday honours alongside maternity campaigners

Published on: 18 Jun 2023

Four NHS chief executives were among those recognised in the King’s Birthday Honours, along with public health leaders and safety campaigners.

Angela Hillery – CEO of Northamptonshire Healthcare Foundation Trust and Leicestershire Partnership Trust — was given a CBE for services to the NHS. She topped HSJ’s “top 50 chief executives” list earlier this year.

A CBE also went to Carolyn Regan, West London Trust chief executive, and to Roland Sinker, the Cambridge University Hospitals FT CEO, who is also currently advising NHS England on how best to promote life sciences and innovation.

Ed Garratt, chief executive of Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board, was awarded an OBE for services to the integrated care system. OBEs also went to Edward Rowland, former medical director of Barts’ hospital, and to Hayley Citrine, former NHSE chief nurse for the North West. 

There were MBEs for campaigners who lost children due to maternity care failures at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust: Rhiannon Davies and Richard Stanton, whose baby Kate Stanton-Davies died in 2009 after several failings; and Kayleigh and Colin Griffiths, whose daughter Pippa died in 2016 after midwives ignored signs of a serious infection. After resistance from the trust and NHSE, they wrote to the then health secretary Jeremy Hunt in 2016, and their efforts led to the Ockenden review, which reported last year.

Along with other failings discovered in recent years, all of these led to a new national maternity improvement programme, and Care Quality Commission inspections of services nationally, which are currently taking place.

Public health

There were, unusually, no knight or damehoods for NHS CEOs. However, Sir John Bell – regius professor of medicine at Oxford University, who was an occasionally controversial commentator as well as government adviser during covid – was given the prestigious “companion of honour” title for services to “medicine, medical research, the life science industry and public health”.

In January 2021, early in the covid vaccine rollout, he told the Times: “The NHS has the theoretical capacity to immunise everybody in five days if they want to, but I don’t get the sense they are really motivated… I think the frontline medics… are eyewateringly good, but you don’t get the [same] sense from the hierarchy in the NHS, the bureaucrats.” (NHSE pointed out that supply of vaccines was the limiting factor).

Professor Steve West, chair of the West of England Academic Health Science Network, and vice-chancellor of West of England University, was given a knighthood; and Department of Health and Social Care second permanent secretary Shona Dunn was given a CB (Companion of the Order of the Bath).

In public health, Dominic Harrison, who retired last year as public health director in Blackburn and Darwen, received a BEM (Medal of the Order of the British Empire) for services to vulnerable people in Lancashire. He was one of the first people to highlight the unexpected increase in deaths, leading to a plateauing and for some groups a fall in life expectancy, over the past decade.

Susan Ibbotson, former director of public health for the Midlands, and Professor Peter Kelly, director of public health for the North East, were given CBEs. Professor John Newton, now director of public health analysis at the DHSC, previously of Public Health England, received an OBE.

Ambulance services

On the ambulance services honours list, John Martin, London Ambulance Service Trust’s chief paramedic and quality officer and deputy chief executive, was awarded the King’s ambulance service medal for distinguished service. He was also president of the College of Paramedics until last month and has been prominent in developing curriculum guidance for paramedics.