Dame Ruth Carnall has more than 35 years’ experience in healthcare, including over 20 years as a chief executive in acute hospitals, mental health, community services and health authorities, including working directly with ministers as a senior civil servant. In 2006, Ruth established NHS London the strategic health authority for London, where, Ruth spent seven years as the Chief Executive. Prior to that Ruth worked as an independent consultant with a range of clients, including, Department of Health, Monitor, NHS Trusts, the Prime Minister's Delivery Office, and the Cabinet Office. Ruth is widely acknowledged as a successful leader of complex strategic change programmes, known for the integrity of her leadership and for her success in building teams and partnerships.

Ruth speaks frequently on leadership programmes and at conferences and has contributed articles and interviews to many publications. For her contribution to health care in England, she has been honoured by Her Majesty the Queen with the awards successively of Commander and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

Key areas of expertise

  • * Developing world-leading healthcare strategies to deliver sustainable change
  • * Health systems leadership, working in complex stakeholder environments with a deep understanding of health care challenges at all levels
  • * Leading programmes of performance improvement and strategic change
  • * Developing high performing teams and coaching support to senior executives and Boards
  • * Policy development for all levels of service including cabinet office, PMDU and the Mayor of London
  • * Design and management of complex high-profile change programmes



  • * Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA)
  • * Associate Chartered Management Accountant (ACMA)
  • * Master of Business Administration (MBA)


Example client projects

Established NHS London the strategic health authority for the capital. When NHS London started there was a financial deficit and a range of operating challenges. Ruth overcame these issues through programmes of service transformation and oversaw an extensive programme of performance improvement and strategic change; the results of which are widely recognised both in the UK and internationally.

Led a major development programme for a CCG, aimed at identifying strategic priorities and designing a programme of work to create effective change leadership across the organisation. An 18-month programme run jointly with McKinsey.

Lead partner in a transformation programme addressing mental health provision by an NHS Trust, incorporating in-depth assessment of the outcomes of mental health care to better inform service improvement plans, productivity opportunities and investment requirements.

She was appointed by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, in 2013 to provide advice and expertise on major health issues affecting London. Ruth led the initiation and leadership of an independent commission on the future of health and healthcare in London.

Executive leadership development programme for a senior leadership team incorporating individual development, coaching and conflict resolution.

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