The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has appointed Paul Rees MBE as its new Chief Executive, with his role commencing on November 27th. Rees, currently serving as the Chief Executive of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and having held various roles throughout his career, will succeed Mark Lyonette, who is retiring, NPA said in a statement.
“We anticipate Paul joining the NPA after a thorough recruitment process affirmed his suitability,” said Nick Kaye, Chair of NPA. “Throughout his career, including his role at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, he has made a significant impact and achieved concrete changes in healthcare and society. I would also like to express my appreciation to Mark for his work as Chief Executive since 2018. He still has important tasks to complete at the NPA before his retirement.”
Rees has also held key positions at prominent organisations, including the Ramblers Association, National Housing Federation, Charities Aid Foundation, Association of University Teachers, and the , besides being the Head of Communications at the Home Office.
Rees expressed his excitement about joining the NPA team, emphasising their role in supporting independent community pharmacies and serving the entire pharmacy sector. “I look forward to working with Mark during the handover period and with the NPA Board and staff team in the coming years. I’m eager for the opportunity to serve our members who deliver essential patient care and services across communities throughout the UK,” he added.
Rees also stated that working as the Chief Executive of the RCPsych for the last seven years has been an honour and a privilege. “During this time, we have played a key role in pushing mental health to the top of the political agenda; promoted the benefits of psychiatry and helped increase the number of foundation doctors choosing psychiatry as a career.”
From journalist to communications and chief executive…
Rees began his career as a journalist at the Times, Sunday Telegraph, and BBC. He later transitioned to communications, co-leading the right-to-roam campaign at the Ramblers Association, which led to the 2000 Countryside and Rights of Way Act.
During his tenure at the National Housing Federation, he successfully removed pre-payment meter tariffs imposed by ‘Big Six’ energy companies on low-income households, resulting in annual savings of £100 million.
As Director of Communications at the Charities Aid Foundation, he persuaded the Chancellor in 2012 to withdraw the proposed ‘charity tax’ on large donations. Rees was involved in the Victoria Climbié and Zahid Mubarek public inquiries, leading to the Children Act 2004 through the Climbié inquiry.
He worked directly with Ministers during his stint as Head of Communications at the Home Office. At the Association of University Teachers, he co-led a successful national campaign to safeguard university lecturers’ pay and conditions.
As Director of Policy and Engagement at the Royal College of General Practitioners, he played a crucial role in the “Put Patients First: Back General Practice” campaign, which led to increased funding and the commitment of 11 per cent of the NHS budget in England to general practice. The campaign also led to increased funding for general practice in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
Rees praised the collaboration with the RCPsych Board, council members, and staff, emphasising their remarkable achievements in shaping external debates, improving standards and care quality, and internally evolving the College into a high-performing, values-driven organisation that promotes equity, diversity, and inclusion.
In response to NHS England’s decision to postpone its vaccination schedule until October, the NPA asserted that its members have a legal basis to seek compensation for losses incurred due to the change in the start date of the vaccination service in England. Following legal counsel, the NPA escalated this matter with NHSE, aiming to address the current situation and emphasise the importance of adhering to due process in the future. However, NHSE later decided to begin the vaccination service on September 11.