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Council of deans elects nursing professor as vice chair

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A nurse has been elected vice chair of the body that represents deans and heads of UK university faculties for nursing, midwifery and the allied health professions.

The Council of Deans of Health has announced that its new vice chair will be Professor Brian Webster, assistant dean in the faculty of health, life and social sciences at Edinburgh Napier University.

“This is a significantly challenging time for health care professions across the UK”

Brian Webster

Professor Webster formally takes up the post on 15 October 2014 and will serve a three year term.

Professor Webster qualified as a mental health nurse in 1985 and worked for a period of time in substance misuse services with a particular focus on alcohol misuse.

He subsequently trained to be a general nurse, working as a charge nurse in oncology and emergency medical services, before moving into education.

Speaking after his election, Professor Webster said: “I’m delighted and honoured to have been elected.

Brian Webster

Brian Webster

“This is a significantly challenging time for health care professions across the UK and I look forward to working with the members of the council to ensure that we are effectively leading and representing within both the higher education and health care sectors,” he said.

He added: “Coming from Scotland I am keen to ensure that the Council continues to respond to the challenging agendas in all four nations of the UK.”

His election means that the two top roles at the Council of Deans are now held by people from nursing backgrounds.

Dame Jessica Corner, dean of health sciences at the University of Southampton and a leading cancer nurse, was elected as the council’s new chair in June, replacing Professor Ieuan Ellis, whose background is in physiotherapy.

Dame Jessica said Professor Brian Webster would be an “excellent” vice chair for the council.

She said he brought with him “wide experience of professional education in both the Scottish and English higher education systems and of working with government departments and shaping policy at national level”.

She added: “This is an exciting time for the council as we work to make clear the very significant contribution of universities in the UK to the health agenda through research, innovation and education.”

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