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A warm welcome to Shirley Crawshaw, new Non-Executive Director

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We are thrilled to welcome Shirley Crawshaw, who has joined County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust as a non-executive director.

Having qualified as a doctor in 1983, Shirley completed her junior doctor rotation before practicing as a GP initially in Staffordshire.

Shirley says, "I realised quickly that preventing illness was where I wanted to focus so moved from general practice to public health, specialising in communicable disease control within the Health Protection Agency, which broadened out to include CBRN - chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear situations, necessitating working closely with multiple agencies nationally and internationally.

"A Masters Degree at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine opened up an opportunity to undertake academic healthcare research, when I studied the risk presented by healthcare acquired infections (HCAI) to UK hospitals.

"The findings were later presented to the National Audit Office and resulted in pressure to control what were then rapidly increasing cases nationally of HCAI within UK. This led onto a policy role in the Department of Health during which I helped to develop the MRSA bacteraemia surveillance scheme for hospitals and other infections including C. Difficile.

"I moved from policy development into NHS management within the Midlands Strategic Health Authority. My role included oversight of performance and governance of NHS provider organisations - such as hospital and community trusts and continuation of my responsibilities for emergency planning via membership of the Regional Resilience Committee.

"Other aspects of my work at this time were investigating and looking at how to prevent diseases that had become a real issue in the Midlands, including TB and Hepatitis C. A move back to a role within the HPA HQ enabled me to develop a more strategic perspective within control of communicable disease and a lead role in governance for the organisation.

"During this period I continued a part time role in General Practice as I valued the insight it gave and enjoyed the direct contact with patients. This was enhanced by a national role with NICE (National Institute of Health and Care Excellence), as consultant advisor, overseeing standards for primary care, developing and rationalising quality standards.

"The latter stage of my career was being invited to cover an overseas post of Medical Officer for New Zealand. This coincided with an international outbreak of the Zika virus involving the Pacific Islands.

"Thankfully, my experience in public health and emergency health situations stood me in good stead - ensuring the development of a collaborative national approach.

"Other work during this period overseas included setting up a New Zealand Strategy for dealing with Antimicrobial Resistance and input into a national Tuberculosis strategy.

"The inequalities of health amongst the Maori and Pacifica populations were of major concern and it was alarming to see diseases such as Rheumatic Fever and subsequent Rheumatic Heart Disease in children which I had not encountered in my medical practice previously.

"Returning to the UK, I took up a non-exec director role in the East Midlands, however, with my daughter now living in the North East, it felt like an opportunity to relocate closer to her.

"Becoming part of #TeamCDDFT I hope to use my skills and experience in medicine, including in public health. I look forward to this new challenge."

'In recent times, I have utilised admissions to Richardson for respite direct from my fracture clinic, even at weekends. I have never worked anywhere with this efficiency before - it is reassuring and invaluable for the patient.'

Patient, Lowson / Starling Wards, Richardson Hospital