WORKFORCE: Richard Barker, the NHS North of England chief operating officer and previously director at Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, has been appointed as the NHS Commissioning Board’s regional director for the North of England.

Before the creation of NHS North of England, Mr Barker was a director at NHS North East since 2007, with responsibility for performance and operations, and later commissioning development.

Richard is originally from Sunderland and began his career with the former Sunderland Health Authority in 1984. He was later a director responsible for business development at the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals Foundation Trust. He moved on to become chief operations officer at NHS South of Tyne and Wear before joining the SHA.

Mr Barker said in a statement: “This is an extremely important time for the NHS and I am delighted to take up this position to help build and embed the new system for clinical commissioning which will make a real difference for patients right across the North.

“During this vital time of change and transition, my key focus will also be on making sure the NHS in the North continues to deliver safe, high quality services with strong clinical outcomes and excellent experiences for all of our patients.”