Month: October 2019

Dido Harding to become new interim Chair of Board

Photo credit: NHS Improvement

Baroness Diana ‘Dido’ Harding is to become interim Chair of the Genomics England Board, starting from December 2019, as Jonathan Symonds CBE steps down at the end of November. Our CEO, Chris Wigley, says a few words below.

Jon Symonds will be stepping down as Chair of Genomics England, with effect from the end of November. Jon’s new role as Chairman of GSK means he is not able to continue as our Chair, but we are delighted that he will be staying on as a Board member.

We are very pleased to announce that Dido Harding has accepted the role of Chair of Genomics England on an interim basis. We anticipate that Dido will act in this role for at least six months, whilst we complete our search for a permanent Chair.

On behalf of the Board, our many partners and all of our staff, I would like to thank Jon for his outstanding contribution as Chair of Genomics England. We look forward to our continuing relationship with Jon, both in his ongoing capacity on our Board, and also as he begins a new role as Chairman of GSK. We will continue to build on our shared commitment to delivering sustainable, personalised medicine and improving the lives of populations across the world.

Dido brings a wealth of experience and expertise from both the private and public sectors. Her breadth of knowledge and experience will be invaluable to Genomics England as we broaden our vision and begin our next chapter. Dido is currently Chair of NHS Improvement, the body responsible for overseeing and supporting NHS providers and trusts in England. She also sits in the House of Lords as a Conservative peer and is a member of the Economic Affairs Select Committee. Prior to this she was Chief Executive of TalkTalk Telecom Group plc, between 2010 and 2017.

I firmly believe that with Dido’s support, the exceptional team here, working in partnership with the NHS and many others, will continue to drive a global transformation in healthcare.

National Conversation on Rare Diseases survey

In July, the Minister for rare disease at the Department for Health and Social Care, Baroness Blackwood, announced a ‘national conversation’ on rare disease. This conversation aims to gather a range of views from the rare disease community to identify common themes which will then feed into an overarching framework to follow the UK Strategy on Rare Diseases, which runs until the end of 2020.

To start the conversation, the Department of Health and Social Care have developed surveys to collect views from the patient community, healthcare professionals, researchers and industry, to understand the major barriers the rare disease community are facing. These surveys were developed with the help of stakeholders and will be used by government to inform a rare disease framework to improve the lives of people living with rare diseases.

In the survey, you will be asked about your background as a member of the rare disease community (e.g. the nature of your condition or your work on rare diseases) and what you think are the greatest challenges faced by those living with, caring for, or developing treatments for rare diseases.

Survey responses will be used exclusively for the national conversation on rare diseases and related policy work by the rare disease policy teams across the UK Government departments. It will not be shared with any third parties. Responses will be anonymous unless you choose to share your personal details such as your name and email address.

Follow this link to find out more and take the survey – the deadline for responses is Friday 29 November.

Please note that everyone filling out the survey will use the same link. You will be asked which group you belong to as part of the survey.