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NHSE left without permanent equality director as joint lead quits

Published on: 4 Mar 2022

NHS England’s joint director of equality and inclusion is stepping down, HSJ understands.

Sources say an internal announcement on Jenni Douglas-Todd’s departure will be made soon.

Ms Douglas-Todd was appointed joint director alongside former police complaints commissioner Mike Franklin in July 2020.

However, HSJ has learned Mr Franklin has been absent from the role since July last year. Anton Emmanuel, head of the NHS’s workforce race equality standard, has acted as interim joint director since the late autumn.

It means Ms Douglas-Todd’s impending exit will leave NHSE without a substantive director of equality and inclusion.

The news also comes days after NHSE’s first chief people officer Prerana Issar announced she was stepping down from her role so she could “fully recover from a covid-related illness,” having been off sick since mid-December.

NHSE chief executive Amanda Pritchard confirmed in a message to the staff directorate on Tuesday that deputy chief people officer Em Wilkinson-Brice would continue serving in Ms Issar’s place until a permanent arrangement is made.

Ms Douglas-Todd is also chair designate of the Dorset integrated care board. She previously served as a deputy chair and senior independent director at University Hospital Southampton Foundation Trust from January 2020 until September of that year.

Before that, she held senior roles in the Home Office and the Independent Police Complaints Commission respectively before serving as chief executive of the Hampshire Police Authority from 2009 until 2012.

In an exclusive interview last March, she told HSJ both her and Mr Franklin would not allow NHS organisations to “hide behind the data” as part of a drive to improve progress on race equality in the health service.

The comments came amid calls for a “reboot” of the WRES from both themselves and its previous directors.

NHSE has been approached for comment.