Sunderland man who became NHS regional director for North East and Yorkshire gets CBE in Queen's birthday honours

The NHS regional director for the North East and Yorkshire has been given Royal approval for his services to Healthcare in the North of England.
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Richard Barker is set to receive a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his long service of almost 40 years to the NHS.

A CBE is awarded to individuals for having a prominent role at national level, or a leading role at regional level.

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The 60-year-old who grew up in Hetton-le-Hole, began his NHS journey in 1984 as an information officer for Sunderland Health Authority before moving to senior roles with the Regional Health Authority, District Health Authorities and Hospital Management.

Richard Barker is set to get a Queen's Honour.Richard Barker is set to get a Queen's Honour.
Richard Barker is set to get a Queen's Honour.

Since then, Richard has gone on to work on projects for Great North Children's Hospital and the Sunderland Royal Hospital.

Over the last 38 years in the NHS, Richard, who now lives in County Durham, has also fulfilled roles as Executive Director of Operations and Performance for North East Strategic Health Authority, Chief Operating Officer for NHS South of Tyne and Wear and Executive Director within Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals.

He said: “I’m absolutely over the moon and delighted to receive this honour, and I am extremely thankful for the support of my family and for those at the NHS over the years that have helped me succeed and get to me to this position.

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"We all look out for each other at the NHS and I really reflected on this after hearing that I would be receiving this award, I am very grateful.”

Richard’s inspiration to work for the National Health Service stemmed from his father who was a GP in Wearside.

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He said: “My dad was a GP in Sunderland and after going away to do my degree, I came back home and started my career with the NHS and I haven’t looked back since.

"I still enjoy my work and I’ve got passion for it. The pandemic has been a challenge but I really want to see it through, because I’m proud of our healthcare in the North and after Covid we’re doing everything we can to help people live healthy, happy lives.”

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NHS chief executive, Amanda Pritchard, added: “Along with the royal family, the NHS is a huge source of patriotic pride and so I am delighted that the huge contribution of NHS staff has been rightly recognised in the historic Jubilee honours.

“I am particularly proud that my colleagues who have given so much to lead the national pandemic response have also been awarded.

“The skill, compassion and dedication shown by staff up and down and the country has been extraordinary and it continues to be extraordinary as they work hard to recover services for patients.

“While the pandemic has shone a light on the efforts of our incredible staff, they continue to go above and beyond to care for patients – that’s not just today or over the last two years, but over the last seven decades.

“I want to congratulate everyone working in the NHS and care sector receiving an honour and a Jubilee medal – it is greatly deserved.”

Others from Sunderland honoured include Professor John Unsworth, chair of The Queen’s Nursing Institute, who gets the OBE for services to Community Nursing and Community Nurse Education.

And Graeme Arnold Conley, manager of Monument View Children’s Home, who gets the MB for services to Children and Young People.