Hester Wain

Headshot of Hester Wain

A Trailblazer in Patient Safety and Humanitarian Efforts

Hester Wain, a leading expert in patient safety and humanitarian work, is currently the Head of Patient Safety Policy for NHS England, where she plays a critical role in developing patient safety improvements across the healthcare system to reduce harm to both patients and staff. She is an inspiring leader with a passion for making a difference in people's lives and has extensive experience in patient safety culture, patient safety in primary care, and inequalities.

Hester's journey in the world of medicine and healthcare started with a BSc Zoology Honours degree from Liverpool University in 1990. She then went on to pursue her MSc in Applied Parasitology and Medical Entomology (1991) at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, where she discovered her passion for working in healthcare. During her time at LSTM, she had the opportunity to learn about diverse cultures and backgrounds from her colleagues, which she describes as one of her fondest memories from her time in Liverpool.

After her MSc, Hester worked as a lab technician for a couple of years before embarking on a PhD in Targeted Mapping of the Chicken Genome at Hertfordshire University, which she completed in 1997. She then became a Post-doctoral Research Fellow and Programme Manager for the Human Gene Nomenclature Committee (part of the Human Genome Organisation) at University College London.

After seven years in academia, Hester decided to join the NHS, which she describes as a big career change, though a decision that has brought immense fulfilment to her life. She has worked in NHS hospitals and commissioning and supported work across more integrated care with local authorities and the voluntary sector. Additionally, she has provided ad-hoc support to the Care Quality Commission's inspections.

Hester is not just a professional, but a humanitarian at heart. She has been a driving force behind several community initiatives over the years, including setting up and running a first-aid and ambulance charity for 20 years. She is currently a trustee for Parkside, a learning disability charity, and a listening volunteer and the Co-vice Chair/Trustee of Samaritans.

Hester has a simple yet powerful piece of advice for current and prospective students - "Listen and be kind." These two simple acts, according to Hester, can make a huge difference in the lives of others and help build a better world.

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