The national effort to reset how Scotland thinks about health and wellbeing has taken a major step forward with the first Chief Executive appointed for Public Health Scotland.
Shadow Chair of Public Health Scotland, Professor Jim McGoldrick has confirmed that Angela Leitch, currently Chief Executive of East Lothian Council, will lead the new national public health body.
“We want Scotland to be a place where everybody thrives. Public Health Scotland will be at the forefront of the collaborative effort to improve the nation’s health and wellbeing and Angela’s extensive senior leadership experience in local government and her deep knowledge of how local communities and the wider public sector can work effectively together will be a significant asset to the new organisation.
Our ambition is for Public Health Scotland to support real, measurable and sustained improvement in the nation’s health and wellbeing and I’m looking forward to working closely with Angela to make it possible for all citizens to take positive decisions about their own health and be supported to do so.’’
Angela brings significant experience to the role having held the position of Chief Executive of East Lothian Council since September 2011, previously holding the same post in Clackmannanshire Council from February 2009.
Angela Leitch, Chief Executive of East Lothian Council said:
"It is an honour and privilege to be appointed Public Health Scotland’s first Chief Executive and to be given this opportunity to direct the new organisation towards a renewed effort to improve Scotland’s health and wellbeing.
Across national and local government, Public Health Scotland will support a data and intelligence-driven shift in how we plan and deliver public health services that strengthen communities, prevent poor health and deliver real and sustainable improvements.
I am determined that Public Health Scotland will have a clear focus on supporting local partnerships in tackling Scotland’s health challenges, particularly in improving the life circumstances for our most vulnerable citizens.’’
Prior to becoming Chief Executive of Clackmannanshire, Angela was Head of Service with the City of Edinburgh Council, responsible for city-wide services and the development of innovative new neighbourhood management and governance arrangements.
Angela joined Edinburgh from West Lothian Council where she headed up their corporate support services and change management programmes, developing new models of service delivery in conjunction with partners from across the public and private sector.
With over 25 years’ experience of working in local government, Angela started her career in human resource management and has previously chaired the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE) in Scotland. More recently, as the organisations strategic lead for children and young people, Angela has also played an important role at a national level in a range of reforms including early learning and childcare and children’s mental health.
The establishment of Public Health Scotland is the cornerstone of a wider reform programme being led by the Scottish Government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) to strengthen the public health function in Scotland.
Joe FitzPatrick, Minister for Public Health said:
"I’d like to take the opportunity to welcome Angela to the position of Public Health Scotland’s first Chief Executive. Her extensive leadership experience will be crucial in this new position as Public Health Scotland establishes its national leadership role.
Our ultimate aim is to improve the health of the population and to reduce the unacceptable variation in life expectancy that exists across Scotland. The new body will work with and be accountable to both national and local government and I’m looking forward to working closely with Angela as we tackle Scotland’s major public health challenges and deliver improvements for communities across the country.
Angela’s substantial local government experience reflects the reform programme’s ambition to strengthen the role and contribution of Scotland’s Councils and local partnerships in the joint effort to improve health and wellbeing."
Councillor Peter Johnston, COSLA’s Health and Social Care spokesperson said:
“Angela Leitch is a welcome appointment in this new and exciting role as Chief Executive of Public Health Scotland. Angela’s experience of public service leadership, including over 25 years in Scottish Local Government, means she is ideally placed to tackle the unique public health challenges that Scotland faces.
This will not be an easy task, but I believe Angela will put Scotland on a path to becoming a healthier nation. I am genuinely excited to welcome her on board as we empower individuals, communities and organisations across the country to have the best overall quality of life that they can.”
Public Health Scotland will be Scotland’s lead national agency for improving and protecting health and wellbeing and brings together health improvement, health protection and health care public health functions with leadership roles in research, innovation and developing the public health workforce.
Public Health Scotland will be fully established by April 2020.