Honour for top Department of Health professional

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 Midlands.”

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 NHS.

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 Efficiency Unit.

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 September 2011.


For more information please contact Vickie Warren in the Media Relations Office on 01902 322736

Share this release