Professor Sir Liam Donaldson is recognised as an international champion of patient safety and public health. He was the foundation chair of the World Health Organisation World Alliance for Patient Safety, launched in 2004. He is a past vice-chairman of the World Health Organisation Executive Board. He is now the World Health Organisation’s Envoy for Patient Safety and Chairman of the Independent Monitoring for the Polio Eradication Programme. In the UK, he is currently Chair of Health Policy at Imperial College London and Chancellor of Newcastle University.
Prior to this appointment Sir Liam was the Chief Medical Officer for England, and the United Kingdom’s Chief Medical Adviser, from 1998-2010. During this time he held critical responsibilities across the whole field of public health and health care. As the United Kingdom’s chief adviser on health issues, he advised the Secretary of State for Health, the Prime Minister and other government ministers. He has produced landmark reports which have set health policy and legislation in fields such as stem cell research, quality and safety of health care, infectious disease control, patient empowerment, poor clinical performance, smoke free public places, medical regulation, and organ and tissue retention.
Sir Liam initially trained as a surgeon in Birmingham and went on to hold teaching and research posts at the University of Leicester. In 1986, he was appointed Regional Medical Officer and Regional Director of Public Health for the Northern Regional Health Authority.
Sir Liam has received many public honours: 12 honorary doctorates from British universities, eight fellowships from medical royal colleges and faculties, and the Gold Medal of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. He was the Queen’s Honorary Physician between 1996 and 1999. He was knighted in the 2002 New Year’s Honours List. He has met and worked with Health Ministers, Chief Medical Officers and public health leaders right across the world.
Sir Liam has been a sought-after keynote speaker at conferences around the world for many years, is a regular contributor to print and broadcast media, and is author of over 190 papers in peer-reviewed journals and a standard text-book of public health.