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Former journalist and campaigner appointed NPA chief executive

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Former journalist and campaigner appointed NPA chief executive

By Neil Trainis

The National Pharmacy Association has appointed former journalist and communications director Paul Rees as its new chief executive.

Rees (pictured), who is currently chief executive of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, will come into his new role on November 27 having had an extensively varied career. He worked on the public inquiries into the death of eight-year-old Victoria Climbé and murder of Zahid Mubarek in the 2000s.

He also had prominent roles in successful campaigns, including securing the public's right to access certain public or privately owned land, lakes and rivers for recreation and exercise while heading up communications at the Ramblers Association, which led to the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

He played a part in bringing an end to the pre-payment meter tariff charged by the big six energy companies while assistant director at the National Housing Federation and led the Charities Aid Foundation's campaign to persuade the government to drop its plan in 2012 to cap tax relief on charitable donations.

As director of communications at the Association of University Teachers, he helped lead a successful national campaign to protect the pay and conditions of university lecturers and as director of policy and engagement at the Royal College of General Practitioners, he helped persuade NHS England that an extra £2.4 billion a year needed to be invested in general practice by 2020-21.

Describing Rees as “an excellent fit for our organisation,” NPA chair Nick Kaye said: “At the Royal College of Psychiatrists and throughout his career, he has made a significant impact and effected tangible change in healthcare and society" before adding that Lyonette “has plenty of work to do at the NPA before his well-earned retirement.”

Rees, who was a journalist in the national press in the 1990s and was awarded an MBE for services to mental health, equality, diversity and inclusion in January 2022, said: “I am absolutely delighted to be joining the brilliant team at the NPA who play such a critical role in supporting our independent community pharmacies and in providing services to the entire pharmacy sector.

“I look forward to working with Mark during the handover period and with the NPA Board and staff team over the coming years and relish the opportunity to serve our hard-working members, who deliver vital patient care and other important services in communities right across the UK.”

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