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Former RCGP chair to leave NHS England

Former RCGP chair to leave NHS England
By Eliza Parr
26 June 2024

Former RCGP chair Professor Dame Helen Stokes-Lampard has been appointed as New Zealand’s national chief medical officer (CMO).

The appointment, effective from October, means she will step down from her role as the only GP on NHS England’s board at the end of September.

Professor Stokes-Lampard, who was RCGP chair from 2016 to 2019, has served as one of NHS England’s non-executive directors since January this year.

As well as working as a GP in the West Midlands, Professor Stokes-Lampard has held several medical leadership positions, including chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges until 2023 and a founding chair of the National Academy for Social Prescribing. She was also a member of the external advisory panel for the Frontier AI Taskforce, looking into the safety and uses of AI.

In the 2022 New Year’s Honours, she was awarded a damehood for ‘services to general practice’.

She will also be stepping down from her position at the University of Birmingham where she has worked as a professor of GP education.

Health New Zealand (Te Whatu Ora) said Professor Stokes-Lampard is ‘genuinely excited about moving to New Zealand’ and that their strategies and values ‘struck a chord’ with her when deciding to apply for the role. 

The organisation’s chief clinical officer Richard Sullivan added: ‘These align closely with her own passion for health and care that places the whole person at the heart of a system that seeks to prevent illness and promote wellbeing, as well as to heal.’

Of her time on the NHSE board, Professor Stokes-Lampard said it has been a ‘fascinating experience’ and that she is ‘so sorry’ to be leaving ‘so soon’. 

‘I am confident that we will remain connected as I start my new role and look forward to sharing learning across the miles, to the benefit of the healthcare systems in both the UK and New Zealand,’ she added.

NHS England chair Richard Meddings said that during her ‘relatively short time’ on the board, Professor Stokes-Lampard has ‘made a significant contribution’, particularly with her ‘practical experience in primary care’. 

NHSE will be looking to appoint a new non-executive director to ‘further strengthen the skillset’ of the board, it added.

A version of this story was first published on our sister title Pulse.

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