WORKFORCE: Carole Wood has been appointed as the new director of public health for Gateshead and will take over when the current postholder, Alyson Learmonth, retires in May.

The announcement was made jointly by the council and primary care trust. Public health functions are due to transfer from PCTs to local authorities, Public Health England and the NHS Commissioning Board over the next year.

Ms Wood is a dietician by background, and has led major health improvement programmes. She was previously associate director of public health in Cumbria.

A statement said: “The new director of public health will be heavily involved as Gateshead Council takes on new responsibilities for health improvement in 2013. She will play a key role in improving the health and wellbeing of Gateshead residents, and reducing health inequalities.”

Leader of Gateshead Council, Mick Henry, said: “Carole is an excellent choice for director of public health. She has all the experience and expertise we are looking for to help us deliver our aspirations to make Gateshead a healthier place, as part of our sustainable community strategy, Vision 2030.

“I’d like to thank Alyson Learmonth for all the work she’s done for the health of the borough, particularly her support of children’s safeguarding and for helping establish a clear strategic direction for health improvement and reducing health inequalities.”