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New director to lead pioneering Leeds health and care academy

Kate O’Connell has been appointed as director for the pioneering Leeds Health and Care Academy and the Leeds strategic workforce.

Kate is currently the Chief People Officer at the University of Hull, where she has responsibility for workforce strategy and services, transformation, and student services, experience and governance.

From September, Kate will be the first, permanent director to lead the Leeds Health and Care Academy, which went live last year.

The Academy is an unprecedented partnership approach by the UK’s third largest city which is bringing together and transforming the learning and development for the city’s 57,000 people who work in health and care.

In spearheading this new way of thinking, learning and working together, it underpins the city’s aim to benefit citizens by create ‘one workforce’ across health and care.

The city’s universities will help position the Academy at the forefront of learning, with a portfolio based on world-leading evidence, research and education.

Kate said: “The challenges for all of us in dealing with the pandemic have intensified the need for transformation, especially in health and care services. It’s a privilege to be joining a citywide team which shares such a clear vision and commitment to improving health and care for all.

“I am delighted to have been appointed and look forward to starting this new role in September.”

With an exciting vision explained in this dynamic, short film, the Academy is a groundbreaking project of Leeds Academic Health Partnership (LAHP), one of the biggest of its kind in the UK. The LAHP founding partners include three Leeds universities, the city’s three NHS trusts, NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group and the City Council.

Sara Munro, chief executive Officer at Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, LAHP board member and Senior Responsible Officer for Leeds’ health and care workforce, said: “I am truly excited about the potential of our one Leeds workforce approach and the leadership Kate will bring.

“We were impressed by Kate’s strong vision and purpose for the citizens and communities of Leeds, especially the most disadvantaged among us. Her experience of complex partnership working, her understanding of this across the whole health and care system in the city and her excellent and engaging communication and leadership style will be invaluable.”

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