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New joint director of public health for Lambeth and Southwark appointed

Dr Ruth Wallis has been appointed as the Joint Director of Public Health for a new shared Public Health service across the London Boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark. She will take up this new post with immediate effect.

Ruth is currently the Joint Director of Public Health for Lambeth.

The appointment was made after a competitive process.

Ruth said: “I am delighted to be taking up this important role and I look forward to working with colleagues across Southwark and Lambeth as we develop this exciting new public health service.  Both Southwark and Lambeth have achieved real improvements to public health over the last 10 years.  I know we have committed and experienced teams across the two boroughs who are determined to make further progress and we will work together to make this happen.”

The Leader of Lambeth Council, Councillor Steve Reed, said: “We welcome Ruth’s appointment to this new role. This marks the beginning of an exciting new collaboration between Lambeth and Southwark.

“Ruth has been Director of Public Health for Lambeth since 2002 and over this time has made a significant personal contribution to the development of partnership work to improve the health of local people. We look forward to continuing to work with Ruth and with colleagues in Southwark Council on our planned new joint service for public health across the two boroughs.”

The Leader of Southwark Council, Councillor Peter John, said: “We welcome the appointment of Ruth Wallis as the new joint Director of Public Health and are confident that a shared professional public health team between Lambeth and Southwark will help enable the combined expertise and resources from both areas to focus on common health issues – many of which are known to cross borough boundaries.”

Ruth became a Consultant in Public Health Medicine in 1990 and has worked in a number of senior roles across the NHS and local authorities.

Public health is currently the responsibility of the NHS but under the Government’s Health and Social Care Act 2012 will transfer to local authorities on 1 April 2013

The public health departments for Lambeth and Southwark will join together to create one integrated public health service for the two boroughs. This new service will become operational on 1 April 2013.

Cllr Jim Dickson, Lambeth Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said: “Ruth has been Director of Public Health for Lambeth since 2002 and over this time has made a significant personal contribution to the development of partnership work to improve the health of local people. We look forward to continuing to work with Ruth and with colleagues in Southwark Council on our planned new joint service for public health across the two boroughs.”

ENDS

For media queries, please contact Madeleine Stewart, Senior Communications Officer for NHS South East London, at Madeleinestewart@nhs.net or on 0203 049 3333.

Notes for editors

  1. The Health and Social Care Act 2012 makes provision for public health functions currently sitting within NHS primary care trusts will transfer to local authorities and these new arrangements will become operational from 1 April 2012;
  2. Public health is responsible for protecting and improving health for a community.  This includes preventing infectious disease through immunisation and working with health service clinicians and environmental health experts, as well as responding to outbreaks such as flu.   Public Heath works to understand what local heath priorities are and to advise on what services are needed to help people stay well and treat any health problems.  Public health works with the Council, other partners and residents to bring a health perspective to housing and regeneration, safety and other local issues.
  3. To ensure all appointments are fit for purpose in the future, it is recommended by the Department of Health that all appointments during the transition period reflect the anticipated changes set out in the most recent policy statements on the role of the director of public health in local government from 1 April 2013. This guidance has been followed for the appointment of the Director of Public Health for Lambeth and Southwark;
  4. NHS South East London is a partnership of primary care trusts in Bromley, Greenwich, Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark and Bexley Care Trust.
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