Mayor appoints leading expert to help champion London’s health needs

18 June 2013

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has appointed Ruth Carnall to provide expertise on major health issues affecting London.

Dame Ruth Carnall, former chief executive of NHS London, will offer high-level, specialist advice to the Mayor to support his aim of ensuring the NHS provides effective services to deal with major health challenges and cope with the demands of a population boom over the next decade.

Ruth Carnall brings decades of experience in health service management, having worked across the NHS in a number of leadership roles, latterly overseeing London’s health care system, where she was responsible for a £14billion budget delivering significant improvements in health outcomes for Londoners. In particular, the Mayor will be utilising Ruth Carnall’s extensive knowledge in matters relating to the London Health Board and health service reconfigurations; safeguarding the pre-eminence of London’s world-leading teaching hospitals; exploring the use of redundant NHS land holdings to reinvest into community health programmes; and developing London’s life sciences sector.

The Mayor is committed to ensuring that London is equipped to manage a range of vital health issues that are key to improving Londoners’ quality of life, from health inequalities and childhood obesity to mental health. The Mayor has a statutory duty to address health inequality and he is chair of the London Health Board. The Board was established by the Mayor in May this year to bring together the NHS, local government and health experts with the aim of providing strategic leadership on London-wide health issues.

Ruth Carnall will be working on a part-time basis, averaging two days a month.

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Ruth Carnall has unrivalled experience and an unique insight into health issues facing London. Having worked at the heart of London’s health services, she will bring to City Hall a track record of delivering results whilst ensuring value for taxpayers’ money. Ruth’s expertise will strengthen my aim to ensure London’s health services respond to the challenges facing our city and cope with a rising population.”

Ruth Carnall, said: “I am delighted to have this opportunity to support the Mayor in his ambitions for a healthier city. I want to continue to use my experience of London's health care system to secure the best possible health and healthcare for our population.”

Ruth Carnall will also provide advice to the Deputy Mayor of London, Victoria Borwick, who has a specific health remit. The Deputy Mayor of London, said: “The London Health Board is newly established by the Mayor to provide leadership at a critical time for the capital. Health organisations are experiencing major changes and Londoners are rightly concerned about how this will impact on them. Our goal is to champion London’s needs and Ruth Carnall’s expertise will help us do this.”

Notes to editors

∙ Chaired by the Mayor, the London Health Board comprises 15 members, with equal representation of five leaders appointed from London Councils, four mayoral appointments and five health service leaders. The board will meet quarterly. Its aims are:

• improve the healthy life expectancy of Londoners

• reduce health inequalities in London between and within boroughs

• ensure that London’s life sciences sector continues to thrive and grow.

The board has identified a number of priority areas to focus on:

• making the case for investing in London’s health economy

• promoting growth and jobs in London’s health & life sciences sectors

• improving primary care

• enhancing the patient experience, particularly through transparency of data and digital access to information

• improving mental health services.

∙ Ruth Carnall has over 30 years of experience in healthcare with 20 as a chief executive in the NHS covering acute hospitals, mental health and community services and health authorities. She has worked in senior positions at a local, regional and national level covering operational, strategic and policy roles.

Over the last 7 years, Ruth has been responsible for the NHS in London as Chief Executive of NHS London. In this capacity, she has overseen an extensive programme of performance improvement and strategic change. The results of this work are widely recognised in the UK and internationally.

Prior to joining NHS London, Ruth worked as an independent consultant with public and private sector clients including Department of Health, Monitor, Health Authorities, NHS Trusts and Glaxo as well as the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit, the Cabinet Office, the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice. Ruth also has experience as a non-executive director of a Public company, chair of a private company and trustee of a charity. In 2011, Ruth was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire for her achievements in healthcare. Ruth is married with two grown up sons and lives in Kent.