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Five HEE non-executive Board members announced

5 August 2019

Health Education England has today welcomed the Government announcement of new non-executive directors (NEDs) to its board.

The appointees are Professor Soraya Dhillon MBE, Dr Liz Mear, Professor Andrew George, Andrew Foster and Professor John Latham. HEE has also confirmed its appointment of Dr Harpreet Sood as Associate NED.

They will provide independent advice, support and scrutiny and work with senior HEE officials on key policy decisions.

Sir David Behan, Chair, Health Education England said:

I am delighted to welcome these new NEDs to HEE. They bring a diverse range of backgrounds and experience which, individually and collectively, will add value to HEE.

Science and technology is transforming health and care. HEE has an important role, working collaboratively with others, to ensure the workforce of tomorrow has the knowledge and skills required to provide people with safe, high quality care and the new Board will work to make this happen.

About the new appointments:

Professor Soraya Dhillon MBE

Professor Dhillon is a former Clinical Academic with over 35 years experience in academia and clinical practice, and retired as Dean of School of Life and Medical Sciences at the University of Hertfordshire in November 2016.

Professor Dhillon has held several Non-Executive posts in the NHS since 1991. She is the former Chairman of Luton and Dunstable Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (1999-2010), former member of the General Pharmaceutical Council and former Board Director for Eastern Academic Health Science Network.

Soraya is a fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), was awarded an MBE for her contribution to Health Services in Bedfordshire and a Charter Gold Medal for Science and Practice.

Commenting on her appointment Professor Dhillon said:

I am delighted to join the HEE board, bringing academic and NHS experience, to tackle key workforce priorities which are critical for the transformation agenda and the delivery of the NHS long term plan.

Professor Soraya Dhillon MBE is appointed as a Non-Executive Director of the Health Education England Board for a 3 year term from 1 September 2019.

Dr Liz Mear

Dr Liz Mear is currently the Chief Executive of the Innovation Agency, the Academic Health Science Network for the North West Coast.

Previously Dr Mear worked in local government and as a senior management consultant.  She has been the Chief Executive of The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust and a Director in an acute NHS trust, a mental health foundation trust and an ambulance service.

Dr Mear is currently an External Director of the Northern Health Science Alliance and of Liverpool Local Enterprise Partnership; a Trustee of the Stroke Association; and is the past Chair of both the national AHSC Network and Cheshire & Merseyside Comprehensive Local Research Network.

Commenting on her appointment Dr Mear said:

I believe that one of the most important challenges facing the NHS is how to adapt to new ways of working and embracing technology,  while valuing the people skills of our staff which are so important to our customers/ patients' experiences of care.I hope to use my experience in the NHS and local government sector to make a positive difference to the discussions and decisions of the HEE Board.

Dr Liz Mear is appointed as a Non-Executive Director of the Health Education England Board for a 2 year term from 1 November 2019. Dr Mear will chair Health Education England’s Patient Advisory Forum.

Professor Andrew George

Professor George is an immunologist who brings a wealth of education and health research experience to the role. He has held senior roles at both Imperial College London, where he was Director of the Graduate School and the School of Professional Development, and Brunel University London where he was, until 2018, Deputy Vice Chancellor responsible for the education and international strategies of the university. He is an executive coaching and consultant, specialising in education, health sciences and research ethics.

Andrew is currently Chair of Imperial College Health Partners, Non-Executive Director of the Health Research Authority and Trustee of the Epilepsy Society. He was Chair of the UK’s National Research Ethics Advisors’ Panel (2009-2017) and on the Clinical Trials, Biologicals and Vaccines Expert Advisory Group for the Commission of Human Medicines/MHRA (2007-2017). He is a Governor of Richmond and Hillcroft Adult Community College and the John Hampden Grammar School.

Professor George’s own research has benefitted patients with cancer or who have undergone organ transplantation. In addition to his research, he has been involved in the ethical conduct and regulation of research. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists, The Higher Education Academy, The Royal Society of Arts and The Royal Society of Biology. In the 2017 New Year Honours list Andrew was appointed MBE for his services to research participants and the ethical governance of clinical research.

Commenting on his appointment Professor George said

The success of the NHS is vitally dependent on the quality of its workforce. I am delighted to have this opportunity to support HEE in making sure that these staff have the best possible education and training that will prepare them to care for our patients not only today, but in a changing future.

Professor Andrew George MBE is appointed as a Non-Executive Director of the Health Education England Board for a 2 year term from 1 September 2019.

Andrew Foster

Mr Foster was appointed as Chief Executive of the Wrightington, Wigan & Leigh NHS Foundation Trust in January 2007 and will retire from this post on 31 October 2019. His main interest has been quality and safety with a particular desire to learn from the best hospitals in the world. He led the successful application which resulted in this Trust becoming a Foundation Trust in December 2008.

Before that he spent five years as the NHS Director of Human Resources (Workforce Director General) at the Department of Health with principal responsibility for implementing the workforce expansion and HR systems modernisation set out in the NHS Plan. Previously he spent two years as part time Policy Director (HR) at the NHS Confederation.

Mr Foster was also the Chairman of Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust from 1996 to 2001 and before that Chairman of West Lancashire NHS Trust and non-executive director at Wrightington Hospital NHS Trust.

Commenting on his appointment Andrew Foster said:

The work of  Health  Education England is vitally important to the future of the NHS and the delivery of excellent healthcare to patients.  I am delighted to have been appointed to the Board of Health Education England where I hope to use my  experience in the NHS to make a positive difference for all concerned; staff, trainees and patients alike.

Andrew Foster CBE is appointed as a Non-Executive Director of the Health Education England Board for a 4 year term from 1 November 2019.

Professor John Latham

John is Vice-Chancellor and CEO of the Coventry University Group. John is a double graduate of the University and has a background in information technology and telecommunications. He previously worked for a number of private sector organisations including JHP Group, Jaguar Cars and BT - including a period as a sponsored Research Fellow based at Martlesham Research Labs, Ipswich. In 2015, John was awarded an Honorary Lifetime Fellowship of the British Computer Society for his services to the IT industry.

John has held high-profile roles at regional, national and European levels promoting innovation, technology and economic development. He chairs the University Alliance mission group of universities, is a Council member of InnovateUK (part of the UK’s National Research Agency (UKRI)) and is a Board member of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership. John is additionally an advisory board member of the UK’s National Growth Board which is responsible for the oversight of the UK’s European Structural Funds Programme. Previously, he has also spent periods of time working overseas including roles in France, Spain, Portugal and Germany as well as being a long-term advisor to the European Commission.

John is an Extraordinary Professor in the area of enterprise and entrepreneurship at Stellenbosch University, South Africa, where in 2019 he additionally received an Honorary Doctorate for his services to UK Higher Education. In the same year he was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours with a CBE for his Services to Higher Education.

Commenting on his appointment Professor Latham said

I am delighted to have been appointed to the Board of HEE. This is a crucial time in the development of the skills requirements of the Health Services in England and the opportunity to be part of the process is both an honour and a challenge I look forward to being part of. The changes in the nature of education delivery and technology, alongside the additional flexibility required by a modern-day provision will make the task even more important if we are to continue to have a world leading Health Service


Professor John Latham CBE is appointed as a Non-Executive Director of the Health Education England Board for a 3 year term from 1 November 2019. Professor.Latham will serve as the Chair of Health Education England’s Audit Committee.

Associate NED appointment

Dr Sood

Dr Harpreet Sood is currently a practicing primary care doctor in London at University College Hospital. He is also Co-Founder and strategic advisor to the NHS Digital Academy. Dr Sood was previously the Associate Chief Clinical Information Officer at NHS England and prior to this Senior Fellow to the CEO of NHS England. 

Dr Sood has a wealth of experience in national and international health policy, strategy and implementation and a demonstrated history of working in the health care industry, in digital health and emerging technologies. In particular, Dr Sood has worked at the intersection of the role of technology and the impact on healthcare delivery and transformation. Dr Sood has led on national strategies and reviews in the NHS and collaborated with organisations internationally including in USA and Asia. Early in his career he has also founded two healthcare startups. 

Dr Sood is on the Advisory Committee for Health Informatics at the World Economic Forum, Founding Fellow of the Faculty of Clinical Informatics and also an advisor, speaker and consultant on digital health and clinical AI.​​

Commenting on his appointment Dr Sood said:

I am delighted to be joining the HEE board and working with the team to build a NHS workforce fit for the 21st century

Dr Harpreet Sood is appointed as an Associate Non-Executive Director of the Health Education England Board for a 3 year term from 1 September 2019.