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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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John Ashton stepping down as Cumbria's public health chief

Cumbria's director of public health is stepping down from his role after seven years.

John Ashton photo
John Ashton

Professor John Ashton will be succeeded, in the interim, by Dr Rebecca Wagstaff, current deputy director.

His move comes after he was appointed to lead the UK Faculty for Public Health (FPH) of the Royal College of Physicians. His new role will last until 2016.

Professor Ashton said he was “very honoured” to have been elected.

“Advancing the cause of public health is something I have dedicated my life to, and I am looking forward to supporting public health consultants and specialists across the UK over the next three years,” he said.

“This will also give me the opportunity to influence the public health agenda across government and beyond.”

He said working in Cumbria “with so many great people” had been an enormous privilege.

“Leaving what I have loved doing for the last seven years will be hard but I am enormously reassured that public health in Cumbria will be in Dr Rebecca Wagstaff’s hands,” he added.

The FPH sets the standards for specialists in public health across the UK and has 3,000 members from clinical, academic and other public health backgrounds.

Ian Gordon, chairman of NHS Cumbria, paid tribute to Prof Ashton’s work.

“John has been a tremendous leader and advocate for better health in Cumbria,” he said.

“Through some of Cumbria’s darkest days, from the terrible floods of 2009 to the appalling shootings in west Cumbria, he has demonstrated great leadership and experience.

“His election to become president of the prestigious UK Faculty of Public Health is well deserved.”

Dr Rebecca Wagstaff’s new role will involve completing the transfer of local public health responsibilities and staff to Cumbria County Council as part of wider NHS reforms.

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