The Chair of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has been recognised in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours for her outstanding services to healthcare.

Linda Pollard, CBE DL Hon. LLD, has been awarded the honour of Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for her services to healthcare, which span almost 30 years, and in recognition of her unbroken contribution to the community. This honour also recognises her tireless commitment to address the under representation of women in senior roles across corporate Britain and in public services.

Linda, who was born in Saltaire and now lives in Leeds, has been the Chair at Leeds Teaching Hospitals for seven years and before that held numerous roles across the NHS in Leeds, Bradford and West Yorkshire.

In her current role at Leeds Teaching Hospitals she has led the organisation to many successes not least securing funding from the Government to build two new hospitals on the Leeds General Infirmary site, including a brand-new children’s hospital. Work on these two new hospitals has already begun and will be finished in 2025.

Under Linda’s leadership, the Trust has also seen:

• significant improvements in the quality of care it provides. In 2014 the Trust improved its Care Quality Commission rating from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’ and is well on the way to achieving ‘outstanding’
• a significant financial recovery over the past seven years, posting a financial surplus for the last three years including the biggest surplus in the history of the Trust
• an increased activity around research and innovation, recognising its benefits for patients, staff and the wider economy, by developing numerous industry and international partnerships and co-chairing the City’s Innovation District Board.

Said Julian Hartley, Chief Executive at Leeds Teaching Hospitals: “Linda is an outstanding chairman with patients and staff at the centre of everything she does.

He continued: “In her 26-year career as an NHS Board member, she has epitomised the belief of its architect, Nye Bevan, that it should be “always changing, always improving” and that is certainly the ethos she has brought to us here in Leeds. I know I speak for the whole Trust when I say how proud we are of Linda and how well-deserved this recognition is”.

In addition to her services to healthcare, Linda holds a long-standing passion for supporting women to be better represented in senior roles across business and the NHS. Between 2010 and 2017 she was the Chairman of An Inspirational Journey and has also of the 2% Club, two organisations committed to supporting women to achieve their best potential and take on some of the highest-level roles in business. From the corporate Board room to the hospital operating theatre; from those women starting their careers to others in their fifties; Linda has been a prime mover in growing women to attain their full potential at the highest levels. All this alongside her national campaigning and influencing to remove the barriers preventing equal representation of women in the workplace.

Commenting on this recent recognition, Linda said: “I was speechless when I received the news, which as those who know me will tell you, doesn’t happen often, but I am truly honored and overwhelmed to receive such prestigious recognition.

She continued: “My work over the last 30 years has been a pleasure, supporting such a wonderful institution as the NHS, working alongside such dedicated and professional people and making a difference for patients and their families across the region. I know there is much more to do, and I hope that this honour will support me in some way to continue my work in public service and in achieving equality for women in the workplace”.

This is not the first time Linda’s outstanding board leadership and contribution has been recognised. In 2019 she was awarded the Institute of Directors’ Dr Neville Bain Memorial Awards for Excellence in Director and Board Practice and before that she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Yorkshire Awards.

Linda lives in Leeds, is married and has three children.

Recently, Yorkshire Businesswoman caught up with Linda and you can read the full interview in the January edition of Yorkshire Businesswoman.