Trust appoints Non-Executive Director Helen Birtwhistle

Tuesday, 27 June, 2017

The Welsh Ambulance Service has appointed a new Non-Executive Director in the shape of Helen Birtwhistle.

Helen, who is a graduate of St Anne’s College, Oxford, and who has a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, has a background in strategic leadership and communications with a particular emphasis on health and care.

Most recently, she was Group Director of External Affairs at the NHS Confederation after four years as Director of the Welsh NHS Confederation.

There she worked to equip the organisation to be a strong independent voice of the seven integrated health boards and three NHS Trusts in Wales, including the Welsh Ambulance Service, and a driver for positive change.

Helen began her career as an NHS National Administrative Trainee with the then South Glamorgan Health Authority and subsequently became a hospital manager.

She switched career in 1984 when she gained a post-graduate diploma in journalism studies at Cardiff University and joined daily newspaper, the South Wales Argus.

There she became health correspondent and deputy news editor before moving into public relations.

Helen worked in a number of roles at a PR company, with a particular emphasis on healthcare, for 20 years, latterly as managing director.

She also spent a year seconded to the National Assembly for Wales as Head of External Communications.

Currently she is Director of Wales For Europe, an independent grassroots organisation, campaigning to foster the strongest possible continuing relationship with the EU.

She is also a member of the Governing Body of the Church in Wales, and Vice Chair of its Standing Committee, and a member of the International Advisory Board, Cardiff Business School.

Helen’s new role supports the work of the Trust’s Partnerships and Engagement directorate, and she is geographically aligned to Powys.

She said: “I am thrilled and excited to be appointed to the Board of the Welsh Ambulance Service and am impressed with the commitment, dedication and professionalism of all those I have met right across the organisation.

“It is clear that this is an ambitious and determined Trust, with clear values and purpose.

“I am excited to work with people who share my commitment to strong partnership working across organisations and sectors, and particularly with patients and the public.”

The Trust Board at the Welsh Ambulance Service is comprised of; the Chairman and Non-Executive Directors, the Chief Executive and Executive Directors and Trade Union representatives, all of whom work collectively as the Board.

Non-Executive Directors are appointed by the Health Secretary and bring independent judgement and a range of financial, legal, commercial or corporate governance expertise to the Board.

They work with their Executive Director colleagues to develop strategy, policy and ensure sound governance, and ensure the Trust delivers services and performs effectively at a strategic and operational level.

Chief Executive Tracy Myhill said: “I’m really impressed by Helen’s energy, ideas and passion for the service.

“I look forward to working with her and benefiting from her vast experience and broad perspective on the NHS.”

Helen’s appointment comes following the retirement of Non-Executive Director David Scott, who joined the Board in 2014 after having spent the majority of his career in local government.

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