Former MP Sarah Wollaston's new role on NHS trust board

Dr Sarah Wollaston says she is looking forward to her new role.

Dr Sarah Wollaston says she is looking forward to her new role. - Credit: Submitted

Former Totnes MP Dr Sarah Wollaston has been appointed as a non-executive director to the board of Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust.

Dr Wollaston has worked in both hospital and primary care settings and is currently working as a GP and as part of the team helping with the Covid vaccination programme.

During her career in general practice, she has also been involved in teaching and examining junior doctors and medical students, and worked with Devon and Cornwall Police as a forensic medical examiner for victims of sexual violence.  

As an MP, she had a special interest in health, social care and public health as chair of the cross-party Health and Social Care Select Committee from 2014 to 2019.

She was recently awarded an honorary fellowship with the Royal Society of Medicine in recognition of her work in public health and scrutiny of health policy.

Sir Richard Ibbotson, trust chairman announced the appointment. He said: “I shall be delighted to welcome Dr Sarah Wollaston to our board, from October 1.

"She lives in South Devon and, having served as both a medical practitioner and an MP, brings an unparalleled insight into both the health needs of our population and the challenges we face. I will value her experience and her contribution.”

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He added: “Dr Sarah Wollaston’s appointment is a result of Jon Welch retiring as a non-executive director, after an extraordinarily long commitment to the people of Torbay and South Devon.

"Jon served as a board member not just at our trust but at various predecessor organisations dating back to 2006.

"His understanding and experience has been invaluable in developing the services we provide today and I would wish to both pay tribute to and offer thanks for his contribution and legacy.”

Dr Wollaston said: “This is an extraordinarily challenging time for everyone working in health and social care. I am honoured to be joining the trust and look forward to working with staff and local representatives to provide the best possible services for our communities across South Devon.”

Liz Davenport, chief executive at Torbay and South Devon, said: “Dr Wollaston is joining us at a very challenging but exciting time for health and care services.

"As well as continuing to manage the impact of the ongoing pandemic, we are focussed on developing services for the future.

"We have been provisionally allocated a share of the £3.7 billion Government funding to invest in new hospital buildings and the latest technology.

"All this will make a real difference in how we deliver services with, to and for our people for the next generation and beyond, as we work to provide care closer to home, reduce people’s travel time and improve sustainability of services.

"Dr Wollaston is joining us at just the right time and with the perfect background and skillset to help oversee our longer-term strategy.”

Non-executive directors at foundation trusts are appointed by governors.

Lead governor for Torbay and South Devon, John Smith, said: “We are fortunate to have such a high calibre of non-executive directors on our trust board.

"Dr Wollaston has a wealth of knowledge about the NHS and she is passionate about health and care in our area.

"I am certain that she will prove to be a valuable asset to our trust and a worthy champion of our services in the local community.”