New health director

Becky Reynolds, new director of public health for B&NES.

B&NES has a new director of public health who has been appointed ahead of the retirement of the present director, Dr Bruce Laurence.

Becky Reynolds, who has worked as a consultant in the council’s public health team since 2013, will take over the role next week.

Bruce has been the director of public health in B&NES since 2013 and has worked closely with Becky on the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.  

Directors of public health are responsible for determining the overall vision and objectives for public health in a local area.

They are accountable for delivering public health objectives and reporting annually on the outcomes and future work. They may be from any background but must be qualified specialists in public health.

Becky Reynolds said: “I’m delighted to have been appointed to this role and to help tackle some of the challenges faced by our communities in Bath and North East Somerset, especially at this important time during Covid-19. I have a strong interest for improving health and wellbeing and reducing health inequalities.

“My immediate focus is to do all I can with colleagues across the council, the wider health sector and the voluntary sector to help our area recover from the pandemic and improve health and wellbeing.

Councillor Dine Romero, council Leader, said: “It’s great news that we have appointed Becky to lead on protecting and improving the long-term health of all our residents. Throughout her time with the public health team and working closely with Bruce, she has proven her excellent abilities – never more so than during the considerable pressure of the pandemic.

“I would like to wholeheartedly thank Bruce for his exemplary and outstanding leadership of public health in B&NES. He has done an incredible job in working tirelessly on the Covid response for the benefit of everyone in our communities. I wish him the very best for the future.”

Dr Bruce Laurence said: “I have been with B&NES since June 2013, just after the public health team moved across to the council from the NHS. In that time I have had the privilege of seeing the council wholeheartedly embrace and support our team and our agenda, and provide us with a happy and productive home. Almost every service in the council contributes in some way to residents’ health and wellbeing, and to build further on the huge potential that provides, we have also worked closely with the local NHS and a host of other networks and organisations. Although these years have been challenging ones for local government, I firmly believe that a local authority is the best home for a locality public health team.

“I am incredibly pleased that Becky is to be my successor. I recruited her just months after I arrived, and she quickly emerged as a great team player and a natural leader, and so I leave fully confident that our small but extremely talented team will remain strong and united and that our work will go from strength to even greater strength.”

Becky Reynolds previously worked in public health in West Yorkshire. Her career has included roles in the NHS, local and national government and building partnerships to improve people’s health and wellbeing. She has led and contributed to health improvement programmes including tobacco control, teenage pregnancy, healthy schools, HIV prevention, and screening and immunisation.

Find out more about the public health team at https://www.bathnes.gov.uk/services/public-health