Sir Michael Marmot is among the health and NHS leaders awarded in the King’s New Year Honours this year.
The director for the Institute of Health Equity, University College London was awarded the Order of the Companions of Honour for services to public health.
The cabinet office cited his Build Back Fairer report – which was published in December 2020 – as ‘the most comprehensive early assessment of how Covid-19 exacerbated existing health inequalities’.
Sir Marmot’s report had highlighted how pre-pandemic social and economic conditions contributed to the unequal Covid-19 death toll.
Professor Mayur Lakhani, a GP partner at Highgate Medical Centre, Leicestershire, was also knighted for his services to general practice medicine.
He had previously received a CBE in 2007 following his term as RCGP chiar, and the first BAME doctor to be the leader of the RCGP.
During the pandemic, he chaired the NHS Midlands Covid-19 and Influenza Board in 2020-2021, which supported the mass vaccination campaign in 11 ICSs to deliver 13.1 million vaccination doses.
Three NHS leaders in the North West were also recognised in the annual honours, with Dr Wirinder Bhatiani, former chair of NHS Bolton CCG, awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to health and diversity in Greater Manchester.
Dr Bhatiani said: ‘It is an honour and a privilege to receive this recognition; this reflects the work of the CCG working in partnership with our GPs, the hospital, the council and the voluntary sector. My thoughts are currently with the health and care staff who are working in an extremely difficult situation.’
Karen Howell, chief executive of Wirral Community NHS Foundation Trust was awarded an OBE for services to health care, and Professor Charlotte Anne Skitterall, group chief pharmacist at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust received an MBE for services to pharmacy.
Carol Kefford, former clinical director and chief nurse at Nuffield Health, and current chief nursing executive at HCA Healthcare UK, was also awarded an OBE for services to nursing.
Ms Kefford led Nuffield Health’s Covid-19 pandemic response, and worked to change the charity’s quality framework and its organisational understanding of evolving clinical excellence to focus on individual progression during her tenure.
She said: ‘I have loved being a nurse and nursing leader in the military, NHS and across the independent hospital sector. It was a particular pleasure to work so closely with our NHS colleagues throughout the pandemic. I’m lucky to have worked with so many talented nurses, clinicians and healthcare leaders who have guided, mentored and supported me so that I could give my best to our patients and the profession that has given me so much.’