UCL Provost's new appointment welcomed
21 October 2011
UCL President & Provost Professor Malcolm Grant has been confirmed as the Chair of the NHS Commissioning Board by the Secretary of State for Health, following a confirmation hearing with the Health Select Committee on 18 October.
Professor Grant's appointment has been widely welcomed. Writing in the leading medical journal, Dr Richard Horton, Editor of The Lancet said: "Malcolm Grant was announced last week as the preferred chairman of the NHS Commissioning Board. Currently President and Provost of University College London, Malcolm will take up his new role, subject to parliamentary scrutiny, in October. He will be the new leader of the NHS. The Commissioning Board is one innovation of the Health and Social Care Bill. Though many of us have opposed this Bill, it has a high chance of becoming law. If that happens, the NHS needs the best people possible to lead it away from the disasters we are anxious will come to pass. Malcolm Grant is one of those people. I have known him since he became Provost of UCL in 2003. He has led the University to great international success. He has a remarkably agile mind, able to speak not only intelligently but also with great insight across diverse intellectual domains, especially medicine and the life sciences (he is an academic lawyer). What holds particular promise is his independence of mind (he will not collapse in the face of political pressure, unlike some). His appointment also offers an opportunity to integrate the contribution of universities and research into the NHS. Andrew Lansley, too often on the wrong side of history, has made a wise and well-judged choice.
Professor Eric Thomas, President of Universities UK, also supported the confirmation of Professor Grant's new role. He said: ‘The appointment of Professor Malcolm Grant to chair the NHS Commissioning Board is extremely good news for the NHS and UK higher education. Universities play a vital role in training virtually all of the UK’s dentists, doctors, midwives, nurses and allied health professionals. In 2009/10 there were around 195,000 full-time undergraduates studying health-related subjects. Around 16% of research-active staff in UK universities are working in healthcare-related departments and much research for the NHS, medical and healthcare charities is done under university auspices. There are over 3,000 clinical academic staff in university medical schools who both care for patients and teach.
"Professor Grant is hugely respected by colleagues in both the NHS and the higher education sector and his valuable experience, expertise and drive will bring even closer collaboration and a stronger relationship between the two."
Image: Professor Malcolm Grant