A PERSONAL letter of thanks from His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales was presented to health champion Kathy Reade as she retired as chairman of NHS East Lancashire.
Mrs Reade was delighted with the letter in which Prince Charles thanked her for her hard work and commitment to the health and wellbeing of residents in the North West, East Lancashire, and particularly Burnley.
She announced her plans to step down in February, but chose to continue until the end of June to oversee the transition from the PCT to the newly-established Lancashire cluster of PCTs.
Mrs Reade said: “It is a not a decision I took lightly as I have always been and will continue to be a passionate supporter and advocate of the NHS, its staff and patients. However, I know the PCT is well placed to respond to the challenges of the NHS reforms moving forward.”
Mrs Reade has led the NHS locally and regionally for 14 years. In 1997, she was appointed as a non-executive director to the board of Burnley Healthcare Trust. Between 1999 and 2002, she was chairman of the East Lancashire Health Authority board. Mrs Reade was appointed chairman of Cumbria and Lancashire Strategic Health Authority, a post she held until 2006 when she took on the role of chairman of NHS East Lancashire.
Mrs Reade, along with other community leaders, met Prince Charles during one of his trips to Burnley and became involved in setting up The Fold, an integrated health and wellbeing centre next to Cherry Fold Primary School which opens in September. During Prince Charles’s 2010 visit, she signed a pledge on behalf of the NHS to encourage volunteering by NHS staff to support the community.
Last year, Mrs Reade’s work was formally recognised when she won the NHS North West Leadership Academy Award for outstanding achievement. The award acknowledged her input as a non-executive director of the NHS East Lancashire board, especially her role in creating an environment in which innovation and creativity have been encouraged.
And, earlier this year, Mrs Reade received the High Sheriff of Lancashire’s Award in recognition of her contribution and support to the Empowerment Mentoring Scheme, which works with young people to promote career opportunities and development.
Having lived in Burnley for more than 30 years, Mrs Reade is passionate about taking action to reduce health inequalities and improve the health of residents. She is also NHS East Lancashire’s patient safety champion and started the Tell Kathy campaign, which asks staff to relay concerns about patient safety directly to Mrs Reade.
In her spare time, Mrs Reade is a singer-songwriter and guitarist and has recorded three CDs. An experienced performer, she will play her songs at venues in area in the coming months.
Read more about Mrs Reade’s amazing career in Friday’s Express