NHS hires new Chief People Officer

NHS England and NHS Improvement have appointed a former chief nurse as deputy chief people officer.

Professor Em Wilkinson-Brice has been appointed to the role of Deputy Chief People Officer.

The new position will play a leading role in supporting delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan, by developing and implementing the NHS’ People Plan due to be published towards the end of the year, which will help the NHS become a better place to work for staff, improve leadership culture, and boost recruitment in key roles.

Em joins from Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust where she was Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Nurse.

Professor Wilkinson-Brice, said “This is a really exciting time to be joining NHSE/I to work with Prerana to ensure that we have a workforce with the right values, behaviours and skills to deliver the best care possible for patients.”

“The NHS is at its heart a people organisation – whether that is the people who need care or those delivering it – and I am delighted to be involved in a way that can help shape a new approach that makes the NHS a more inclusive and engaging place to work and that allows people to fulfil their potential to deliver compassionate care.”

She has had an extensive career working in the NHS for the past 30 years, qualifying as a Nurse in 1992 in Exeter before taking up roles in Oxford specialising in cardiology and high dependency care.

She later worked as Director of Nursing and Facilities at Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, as well as working at the Department of Health and Social Care before returning to Exeter in 2010 where she has been Chief Nurse, Chief Operating Officer as well as undertaking system work within the Devon STP.

Em has herself benefitted from some of the development opportunities on offer for NHS staff, including being part of the first cohort of the national NHS Leadership Academy Aspiring Chief Executive programme, completing it in February 2017.

Em will work part-time with NHS England and NHS Improvement during September, before taking up her new role on a full-time basis in October.

Prerana Issar, Chief People Officer for NHS England and NHS Improvement said “I am absolutely delighted that Em is going to be joining us. To make the NHS People Plan a success, we will need to translate our work into a set of actions that make sense to NHS organisations, and support them to make change locally. I want to build a team that brings in experience from the front-line NHS so that we can get this right.

“Em’s extensive leadership and clinical experience will be vital in helping the NHS deliver on the People Plan, and the NHS Long Term Plan, to provide a world-class service to patients.”