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19 March 2024

Today, 19 March 2024, Eluned Morgan MS, Minister for Health and Social Services, has announced that Dr Neil Wooding is appointed as the new Chair of Hywel Dda University Health Board.

Dr Neil Rhys Wooding is an experienced leader and Board member. He has spent his career as a public servant and worked within senior roles in central, regional, and local government as well as the NHS and the third sector. Most recently as an Executive Director in the Cabinet Office and the Chief People Officer in the Ministry of Justice (2018-2021).

He is currently the Chair of the Wales Council for Voluntary Action and lives in Ceredigion. Dr Wooding is a Companion of the Chartered Institute of People Management and was awarded a CBE in 2022.

The Minister for Health and Social Services Eluned Morgan said:

“I am delighted to announce the appointment of Neil Wooding as Chair of Hywel Dda University Health Board. He brings a wealth of public sector experience and local knowledge to this role.”

Congratulating Dr Wooding on his appointment, Judith Hardisty, interim Chair at Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “I am delighted that Neil has been appointed to the role of Chair at Hywel Dda. I have had the pleasure of working with Neil in the past, and I look forward to working with him to ensure a smooth hand over as he steps into the role in June 2024.

“In addition to his professional experience, Neil is also a member of our local community and has first-hand experience of our services. Holding the role of Chair is a privilege, and I am confident that under Neil’s guidance and leadership Hywel Dda will be in safe hands. It has been an honour to serve as an Independent Member, Vice Chair and interim Chair at Hywel Dda and I wish Neil and the team all the best for the future.”

Neil adds: “I am a passionate advocate for health and wellbeing, and particularly value how we can all, as individuals and communities, play a part in enabling the best health outcomes. Being a resident of Ceredigion, I have a vested interest in seeing our health board succeed – for current and future generations alike. I look forward to stepping into the role in the summer and working alongside the Board’s experienced Independent Members and dedicated community of staff.”

Neil succeeds Judith Hardisty in the post who has held the role since October 2023 when she was appointed as interim Chair of the Health Board following Maria Battle’s retirement as Chair. Judith’s tenure as a Board member and interim Chair will come to an end at the end of May 2024. The appointment is subject to pre-appointment hearings, which are taking place on the 25 April 2024.

Professor Phil Kloer, interim Chief Executive at Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “At Hywel Dda we have been fortunate to attract experienced and committed Independent Board members who work alongside us as leaders - I am so pleased that this is also the case with Neil and I look forward to working with him for years to come in promoting health & well-being in our communities, and in driving improved access to high quality healthcare services.

“In welcoming Neil, I would also like to thank Judith for her many contributions over the past eight years – she has been a fantastic Independent Board Member, Vice Chair and more recently interim Chair. I wish her well in her future endeavours and am certain that as a member of the Hywel Dda community she will continue to challenge and support us. Thank you, Judith.”

The Board plays a key role in shaping the strategy, vision, purpose, and culture of health boards. It holds the Health Board to account for service delivery, delivery of strategy and value for money, and strategic development and implementation. It is also responsible for ensuring that risks to the Health Board, staff, and the public are managed and mitigated effectively. Led by an independent Chair and comprising of a mixture of both Executive and Independent Members, the Board has a collective responsibility for the performance of the Health Board.

Independent Board Member appointments are for an initial term of up to four years, which can be extended.