New Year - New Chairman

A new year and a new chairman for North East Ambulance Service

A leading figure from the North East region's business community has been appointed chairman of the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS).

Ashley Winter, former chairman and managing director of Patterson Motor Group, has taken over at the top of the ambulance service from Tony Dell, who is stepping down after eight years at the helm.

Ashley said: "I am delighted to have been appointed to this important and high public profile role.

"The North East Ambulance Service is one of the leading NHS Trusts in its sector in the UK and this is an exciting - and challenging - time to be leading an organisation as it introduces the new 111 number across the region over the next few months."

Ashley added: "I have a keen interest in employee and customer (user) satisfaction which are critical to NEAS success. The Board, Governors and Members should also be significant assets to this process. Raising standards, training and equal opportunities are the bedrock for the sector and I can add value here."

The former Patterson Motor Group boss is well-known in business, charity and education circles as he has served as President of Tyne & Wear Chamber of Commerce, chair of Business Link Tyneside, Tyneside Training and Enterprise Council and led the transition to the Learning and Skills Council which he chaired in Tyne & Wear.

He was awarded the OBE for Services to Businesses in the North East in 2003 and is currently chair of the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland and also the Tyne & Wear Enterprise Trust (Entrust); a director of Herbert Dove Trustees and a Trustee of the Charlotte Straker Project, a charitable nursing and residential home in Corbridge, Northumberland.

Ashley is currently High Sheriff of Tyne and Wear until April 2013.

NEAS chairman Tony Dell said: "It has been a privilege to be the Chair of NEAS and I have greatly enjoyed being at the head of such a caring organisation. I am also very pleased to see the reins being handed over to a businessman with so much experience. His previous focus on customer care bodes well for continuing our strong belief that patients have pride of place in our list of priorities."

The appointment of the chairman was made by the Council of Governors for the North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust. The council comprises 21 elected public governors, four elected staff governors and nine appointed governors representing local authorities, emergency services, health and voluntary agencies.

Lead Governor Robert Alabaster said: "Tony Dell has done so much to build a successful Foundation Trust and supported the governors in the process during our first year. We wish him all the very best in his retirement.

"We are delighted to have made an appointment of an outstanding and high profile member of the North East community. Ashley's appointment was endorsed by the whole Council and the governors look forward to working with him in taking the ambulance service forward.

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