Dame Una O’Brien DCB was appointed Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health from 2010-2016.
She was previously the Department of Health’s Director General of Policy and Strategy, and prior to that the Department’s Director of Provider Reform Policy.
Una has 20 years’ experience of health policy and leading and managing change in health services. In the 1980s, she helped establish London Lighthouse, a pioneering third sector provider of services for people with HIV and AIDS.
Between 1998 and 2001, Una was Secretary to the Bristol/Kennedy Inquiry, the largest public inquiry to date into the NHS. She has also been Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Health and to the Secretary of State for Transport.
Una completed a three-year secondment as Director of Development and Clinical Governance at University College London NHS Foundation Trust in 2005.
She spent her childhood in Birmingham and was educated at St Anne's College, Oxford, where she graduated with a BA degree in Modern History and is now an Honorary Fellow. She also studied at Harvard University where she was a Kennedy Scholar.
On 12 June 2015 it was announced that she was to receive a DCB in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.