Rukshana Kapasi, a healthcare professional with more than 30 years of experience in her field has been appointed as Director of Health at Barnardo’s, the UK’s leading children’s charity.
Her appointment is a key moment in the charity’s ambition to become the UK’s leading children’s health and social care charity.
It also comes at a crucial time during the Covid-19 pandemic. Although the virus does not generally cause children to become seriously unwell, the pandemic and lockdown are having a significant impact on children’s mental health and wellbeing.
Under her leadership Barnardo’s will be developing its expertise in three key areas: integrated health and social care – focusing on early intervention and prevention, public health, and mental health and wellbeing.
Rukshana has been working in the NHS and charitable sector for the last thirty years as a nurse, commissioner, trustee and senior leader.
She has most recently been a director at Crohn’s and Colitis UK, where she set up a new directorate for health services and launched their inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) specialist nurse programme.
In this role she was chair of IBD UK, a collaborative of 17 organisations which co-produced standards and a digital benchmarking tool with patients with IBD.
During her career she has brought about key directional changes in the health sector such as the PALS Pathfinder Pilots, which led to the introduction of patient advice and liaison services in every hospital in England and the Patient Choice system is now used by all GPs.
While working for Macmillan Cancer Support, Rukshana redesigned cancer service pathways, co-developed a ROI (return on investment) model for transforming care in the community and introduced a model of Macmillan GP Associates.
Speaking about her appointment, Rukshana Kapasi said: “I feel privileged to join Barnardo’s as Director of Health and have the opportunity to make a difference to the health and wellbeing of young lives.
“As a carer for a young person, excellence in services is something I feel passionately about. I am looking forward to contributing my expertise in transforming health services to develop a health and social care strategy for the organisation.
“The current COVID situation has shown us that the time is right to build a better and brighter future for children and be more joined up with healthcare.”
Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said: “I’m delighted to announce that Rukshana has been appointed as Barnardo’s Director of Health.
“Vulnerable children face a range of challenges that affect their physical and mental health – especially in the context of Covid-19. In order to improve young people’s overall outcomes, we must address health issues, alongside factors like safety, wellbeing, and access to education, training and skills.
“In taking on this new role, Rukshana will bring valuable health-specific expertise to the Barnardo’s family.
“In her previous roles, Rukshana has had a fantastic impact shaping the health system in the UK, and putting patients at the heart of decision making, so I’m very pleased she has chosen to join us at this critical time.
“Her leadership will help us ensure children’s voices are heard and listened to, throughout the health and social care sector.”