Sir Liam Donaldson

Sir Liam Donaldson is a global leader in public health and health care quality and safety.

His current roles within the United Kingdom include: visiting Fellow at the King’s Fund, Chancellor of Newcastle University, and Professor of Health Policy at Imperial College, London.

From 1998 to June 2010, Sir Liam was Chief Medical Officer for England and the United Kingdom’s Chief Medical Adviser. He was only the 15th person to hold this historic post since it was established in 1855, and the longest serving in modern times.

As the Government’s Chief Medical Officer, he served six Health Secretaries and two Prime Ministers. Over his 12 years in post, he produced a series of ground-breaking reports and policy initiatives that helped shape public health, NHS care and clinical practice. These included: smoke-free public places, regulated stem cell research, creation of the concept of clinical governance, establishment of a health protection service and a comprehensive approach to patient safety.

He led the Government’s response to a number of health issues and emergencies including: the SARS outbreak, the H1N1 influenza pandemic and the murders of patients by general practitioner Harold Shipman.

Internationally, Sir Liam served as member and Vice-Chairman of the World Health Organisation’s Executive Board and conceived of, founded, and led the World Alliance for Patient Safety, an initiative that moved action on safety to a global scale.

He has met and worked with Health Ministers, Chief Medical Officers and public health leaders right across the world.

He is currently the World Health Organisation Director-General’s envoy on patient safety and chairs the International Monitoring Board on polio eradication.

Sir Liam has been a sought-after keynote speaker at conferences around the world for many years, is a regular contributor to print and broadcast media, and is author of over 190 papers in peer-reviewed journals and a standard text-book of public health. He has received many honours and awards including: a Knighthood in 2002, 15 honorary degrees from British universities, the Gold Medal of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, and a Picker Institute Award for leadership in patient-centred care.

He is founder and director of the consultancy, Strategies for Health.