Posted: Thu 1st Sep 2022

North Wales Health Board Chief Executive to retire after 18 months in the role

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Sep 1st, 2022

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board Chief Executive, Jo Whitehead is to retire from the NHS at the end of the year.

Jo has brought forward her retirement plans due to family circumstances and will leave her post on 23 December 2022.

In announcing her retirement, Jo – the seventh Betsi Chief Executive in 13 years – said: “My decision to retire at this time is personal. ”

“The last few months have brought some serious health challenges for my father in law, with consequences for my husband who has had to bring forward his own retirement plans and go to Germany to be with his father.”

“This has caused us to consider how we want to spend our time and has led me to conclude that it is time for me to retire from my Chief Executive role.”

“My 37-year career has taken me from Sheffield, Leicester, Bristol, London, Herefordshire, Australia and right back home to North Wales – quite a journey, with each role bringing joy and challenges.”

“I am grateful for the opportunities the NHS in England and Wales have provided to me.”

“It has been a great privilege to have been given the opportunity at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and I am proud of the achievements in North Wales which would not have been possible without the support of everyone in the integrated board and NHS Wales.”

“BCUHB is full of the most amazing people and I wish the organisation well.”

“This has been an extremely difficult decision for me and is one I have not taken lightly.”

“I am leaving earlier than I had originally intended but my family is incredibly important to me and must come first.”

Chair of BCUHB, Mark Polin, said: “Jo’s retirement is a loss for us but thanks to her leadership, we are in a stronger position to take forward our ambition to be a high performing organisation providing excellent care for the people of North Wales.

“I would like to thank Jo for her dedication to the NHS, to our local communities, and to the people of North Wales.”

Commenting, Welsh Conservative and Shadow North Wales Minister Darren Millar MS said:

“I wish Jo Whitehead all the best for a long and happy retirement and thank her for her service to North Wales, particularly during the challenges posed by the pandemic.

“The next Chief Executive of the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board will be its seventh in 13 years. This revolving door and constant change at the top is unhelpful and unhealthy.”

“The NHS in North Wales desperately needs strong long-term leadership to overcome the ongoing challenges it faces and turn failing services around.”

He added: “Betsi needs fixing and the next Chief Executive must have the ability to deliver change and make the tough decisions that are required without being hampered by political interference from Ministers in Cardiff Bay”

Jo joined Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board as Chief Executive in January 2021.

She started her NHS career in 1985 as a nursing auxiliary and progressed into general management which led to her first Chief Executive role in 2001.

Her experience includes a number of Board level roles in England, Australia and Wales including as a Chief Executive, Deputy Chief Executive, and Executive Director.

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