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End of life care head takes up new role with National Council for Palliative Care

February 04, 2014

Claire Henry

Claire Henry, Head of Programmes for Long Term Conditions and End of Life Care, will be leaving NHS Improving Quality at the end of March to take on the role of Chief Executive at the National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC).

She has had a tireless commitment to improving end of life care throughout her career, from working as a nurse in cancer and palliative care through to being awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours 2013. Last year Claire also received a lifetime achievement award at the International Journal of Palliative Nursing Awards, sponsored by Macmillan Cancer Support.

Claire said: "I am delighted to accept this exciting and challenging role as Chief Executive of the National Council for Palliative Care. With an impressive track record, NCPC is a passionate and driven organisation committed to improving the quality of palliative and end of life care for all those who need it and their loved ones.

"I am looking forward to working inclusively and collaboratively to make a real, significant difference to the care of people who are dying, and to continuing the fantastic work Dying Matters has been leading to make it easier for people to talk openly about dying, death and bereavement.

"While great progress has been made over recent years we still have a long way to go - change simply is not happening quickly enough for people who need quality care now.

"I know first-hand that the NCPC team works tirelessly to break down barriers, campaign for change, reduce inequalities and raise standards of care. I am honoured to be a part of their work and incredibly eager to get started.

"I would like to thank current NCPC Chief Executive Eve Richardson for her years of dedicated, inspiring and unwavering commitment to palliative and end of life care - she will be greatly missed."

Richard Jeavons, NHS Improving Quality Interim Managing Director, said: "Congratulations to Claire on this well-deserved appointment.

"In the short time I've known Claire her commitment and passion for improving the care of people who are dying has clearly shone through and I'm sure she will do NCPC proud. That being said, she will be greatly missed and we will be sad to see her leave the NHS Improving Quality team."

Prior to working at NHS Improving Quality Claire was Programme Director for the National End of Life Care Programme, which supported the implementation of the National End of Life Care Strategy for England.

Her previous roles have included National Director for the NHS End of Life Care Programme supporting strategic health authorities, primary care trusts and other organisations to improve the quality of care for all adult patients nearing the end of life. She had a number of roles within the Cancer Services Collaborative 'Improvement Partnership' supporting cancer networks in the implementation of service redesign for cancer services. 

Professor Mayur Lakhani, Chairman of the National Council for Palliative Care, said: "The Trustees are really pleased to have appointed someone with Claire Henry's excellent track record and experience to lead the organisation at such an important time.

"Claire combines real expertise in end of life care with the drive, determination and commitment to working collaboratively that is needed to ensure improving care and support for people who are dying is high on everyone's agenda.

"Her appointment is a great opportunity to grow the impact of our work. Whilst there have been welcome improvements in end of life care there is a real and urgent need to transform care so that it meets the needs of all those who are dying, whoever they are, whatever their diagnosis and wherever they live.

"Claire will bring the leadership necessary to ensure a strong voice for end of life care at a time of great opportunity but also challenges in a rapidly changing health and social care system. 

Further information

For further information please contact Joe Levenson, Director of Communications at the National Council for Palliative Care on 020 7697 1520 or 07795 158003.

The National Council for Palliative Care ( is the umbrella charity for all those involved in palliative, end of life and hospice care in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It also leads the Dying Matters Coalition ( which aims to help transform public attitudes towards dying, death and bereavement in England