Chief nurse and director for maternity and early years, Public Health England
Professor Viv Bennett trained as a nurse in Oxford in 1976 and worked in children’s nursing before training as a health visitor in the 1980s.
She worked as a health visitor while studying for a BA with the Open University and master’s degree in health and social policy at the University of Bristol.
She undertook a number of health visiting research and leadership roles and was a director of nursing in a community mental health trust and primary care trusts.
In 2007 Viv was appointed as deputy chief nursing officer at the Department of Health England, with responsibility for primary care and public health.
She became chief nurse for Public Health England on its establishment and lead director for maternal and early years, making her the government’s principal advisor on public health nursing
She is also the lead for the ‘Best Start in Life’ programme, and on the prevention workstream of the national Maternity Transformation Programme and the three prevention commitments from Leading Change, Adding Value.
Viv has had a special interest in services for children and young people, and in embedding prevention and health promotion into every health and care practitioner’s role; she is leading a call to action to achieve a social movement for health entitled “All Our Health”.
Viv is an honorary fellow and visiting professor at King’s College London and fellow of the Queen’s Nursing Institute and the Institute of Health Visiting. In 2015, she received a CBE in the New Year’s Honours List for her services to nursing.