The appointment has been made following the retirement of previous co-chair Dr Adrian McLachlan, Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group.

The Board plays an important role in the success and accountability of NIHR ARC South London and is responsible for the overall strategic direction and performance of the organisation. It has been co-led by Dr Leonie Penna, Chief Medical Officer at King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, since her appointment in early 2021. The Board includes representatives from each of the ARC’s collaborating organisations, partner organisations, local groups, and public and service user representatives. It meets four times a year and is accountable to the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) through the King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Board. Find out more.  

I am delighted to welcome Dr John Byrne to join Dr Leonie Penna, Chief Medical Officer of King’s College London NHS Foundation Trust, to serve as co-chair of the NIHR ARC South London Board. John is Executive Medical Director of the NHS South West London Integrated Care Board. He brings a wealth of experience in primary and secondary health and care services, and will ensure that research evidence and innovation will translate into improved services.

Professor Sir Graham Thornicroft, NIHR ARC South London’s Director

Professor Sir Graham Thornicroft continues: "I very much look forward to working with both John and Leonie to ensure that the NIHR ARC South London actively contributes to improving care, especially for the benefit of local people and communities experiencing health inequalities. I would also like to thank our outgoing co-chair Dr Adrian McLachlan for all his energy and commitment providing wise strategic oversight of the ARC in recent years."

About the Board co-chairs

Dr Leonie Penna is Chief Medical Officer at King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, where she led the Trust’s clinical response to Covid-19. Dr Penna has more than 19 years’ clinical experience working as a consultant at King’s in high-risk obstetrics and fetal medicine. Before this she worked as a consultant in Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust and St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. She has held a number of leadership roles, initially focused on women’s health, at both King’s College Hospital and the Princess Royal University Hospital.

Dr John Byrne is Executive Medical Director at South West London Integrated Care Board. Prior to this role he was Executive Medical Director at Humber NHS Foundation Trust, a provider of mental health, community and primary care services, and was the executive lead for quality improvement (QI). During his tenure, the Trust saw its Care Quality Commission rating improve to good and was awarded the HSJ provider of the year award in 2019. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr Byrne was the Trust’s lead for testing and delivering vaccinations to health and care staff and local citizens