New Directors Bring Wealth of Experience to DHU Board

Two new Non-Executive Directors have been co-opted to the Board at DHU Health Care – bringing a wealth of NHS and private sector experience, skills and knowledge to the company.

Joining at a time of change in the NHS, with the government’s Health and Care Bill set to deliver care through Integrated Care Systems (ICSs), Robert Harris and Abi Tierney are well-placed to contribute to the development of a new DHU business strategy. As part of the Board they will provide advice and support – helping to enable the delivery of critical success factors that will focus on improving patient care for a combined population of over five million people; as well as enhancing employee experience for around 2,000 DHU staff.

Robert’s background is in healthcare at government, regional and local levels, as a strategist, policymaker and provider. He was the first National Director of Strategy for NHS England; the first National Policy Director for Monitor (now NHS Improvement); and Executive Director for Operations, Performance & Commissioning (COO) for one of the largest NHS Strategic Health Authorities in the country – Midlands and East. He has also worked as a Senior Advisor to various overseas governments, in respect of healthcare innovation, policy and service design – and was also Special Advisor to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.

Between 2014 to 2021 he was Managing Partner and the Chief Executive Officer for the Lakeside Healthcare Group (LHG) – one of the largest general practice partnerships in the NHS. Over the last seven years, he has grown the business from a stand-alone surgery to its market-leading multi-site position. A former Professor at Cass Business School, he also lectured on healthcare management, strategy and finance for more than ten years.

Since March 2020, Abi Tierney has been in the role of Director General for Her Majesty’s Passport Office and UK Visas and Immigration. In March 2021 she also became the 23rd Registrar General for England and Wales – with her appointment as the head of the General Register Office (GRO) granted by the Queen.

Abi’s career encompasses both public and private sector organisations. She has been Marketing Leader for IBM’s Global Services Business, Director of Strategic Leadership at Aberdeen City Council and Director of Strategy and Innovation at the University Hospitals of Leicester. She joined Serco Health in 2016, holding a number of roles including Regional Director and Chief Executive of Suffolk Community Services. She later became the company’s Business Development Director for their Health Business – with responsibility for providing strategic direction to help the business grow.

Commenting on the appointments, which were both agreed by the DHU Board of Directors on September 1 2021, Chief Executive Officer Stephen Bateman says: “As a not-for-profit, community interest company, providing 24-hour services on the NHS ‘front-line’ we are right at the heart of this changing NHS landscape.

“We are delighted to welcome Robert and Abi as Non-Executive Directors. Our Board members have a wealth of experience and knowledge between them – with backgrounds in the NHS, local authority services, and other public and private sectors. These new appointments strengthen our Board, providing a new dynamic, and bringing a different dimension.

“With our business continuing to expand in urgent care and NHS111 services across the six counties we serve (and beyond) this is an exciting time for DHU. We look forward to working with our new Board colleagues to bring all aspects of our business together, to truly become a #OneDHU organisation and always seeking to deliver compassionate, high-quality, and accessible care to our patients and the communities we serve.”