The University of Wolverhampton has awarded an
honorary degree to a leading Department of Health
Una O’Brien, Permanent Secretary of the Department of Health,
received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science from the School of Health and Wellbeing.
The award was conferred at a graduation ceremony at
Wolverhampton Grand Theatre in recognition of Una’s outstanding
record of leadership in the Department of Health and for public
service in health and social care.
She said: “I extend my warmest congratulations to every one of
the graduates for all their hard work, dedication and achievement.
Graduating is a wonderful milestone and I hope the challenge and
fun of learning will stay with them wherever life leads. I am very
proud to have been honoured by the University of Wolverhampton and
salute the academic and administrative staff for the fine work they
do in widening access to learning for the people of the West
Originally from Birmingham, Una O’Brien is the first female
Permanent Secretary of the Department of Health, a post she has
held since November 2010; she is also the Permanent Secretary for
the Civil Service in the West Midlands. Since joining the
Department of Health in 1990 Una has held a variety of roles in
Government and in healthcare organisations.
In 2005, Una completed a three-year secondment as Director of
Clinical Governance and Development at University College London
NHS Foundation Trust. Between 1998 and 2001, she was the Secretary
to the Bristol/Kennedy Inquiry, a major public inquiry into the
Other previous roles include Director General of Policy and
Strategy at the Department of Health, Private Secretary to the
Minister for Health, Principal Private Secretary to the Secretary
of State for Transport, and Deputy Director in the Prime Minister’s
In the 1980s, she helped establish London Lighthouse, a
pioneering voluntary sector provider of services for people with
HIV and AIDS. Una is a graduate of Oxford University and the London
School of Economics, and was a Kennedy Scholar at Harvard.
The University’s graduation ceremonies are being held at
Wolverhampton Grand Theatre from Thursday, 1 September to Friday 9
For more information please contact Vickie Warren in the Media
Relations Office on 01902 322736
Date Issued: Tuesday, 06 September 2011
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