Global healthcare leader Prof Mark Britnell to join Health Innovation Manchester as Chair

Professor Mark Britnell will take up the role of Health Innovation Manchester chair in September

Prof Mark Britnell will join Health Innovation Manchester as its new chair in September, joining the board of senior leaders to accelerate world-leading innovation to improve the lives of Greater Manchester’s 2.8m population. Mark brings his vast experience of global public and private health systems across 81 countries, having led organisations at local, regional and national levels.  

As chair, Mark will lead the Health Innovation Manchester (HInM) Board, comprising global industry non-executive directors and senior representatives from across Greater Manchester’s health, care, civic and academic bodies. He will take over from Rowena Burns, who was an original founder of HInM, and has been at the helm as chair for several successful years. Rowena will step down once her final tenure ends in the summer.   

Health Innovation Manchester (HInM) is a place-based innovation organisation, formed by the health, care, civic and academic leaders of Greater Manchester (GM), with a vision to be world leading in improving the lives of local people, transforming care and boosting the economy through innovation.  

Some of HInM’s most notable work includes joining up health and care information via the GM Care Record for all 2.8m citizens; leading the development of the GM secure data environment for research; securing £15m in Innovate UK and industry funding for programmes in advanced diagnostics and genomics; and deploying novel industry-led therapies at scale to effectively treat high cholesterol in at risk groups.  

Mark, who is originally from Chester, has dedicated all his 35 years of professional experience to the development of healthcare around the world, working in 81 countries. He was vice chair of KPMG UK until the end of December 2022 and before that was Global Chairman and Senior Partner for Healthcare, Government and Infrastructure at KPMG International.  

In 2000, Mark was appointed Chief Executive of University Hospitals Birmingham, where he masterminded the largest new hospital build in NHS history, and later went on to run the NHS South Central region before joining the NHS management board as Director General at the Department of Health, including leading the national NHS innovation strategy at the time.  

He is a Trustee of The King’s Fund, a professor at the Global Business School for Health at University College London and an adjunct professor at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.  

Commenting on returning to his North West roots, Mark said: “I have had a close affiliation to Manchester for the last 50 years and have seen the city-region transform to become the pre-eminent health innovation cluster in the UK, and well regarded around the world. 

“I have worked with health systems internationally, and believe Greater Manchester has the foundations and characteristics to be truly world leading, and joining Health Innovation Manchester as chair will provide a significant opportunity to be part of this incredible journey.” 

Mark has also written two books which have sold in 106 countries – ‘In Search of the Perfect Health System’ and ‘Human: Solving the Global Workforce Crisis in Healthcare’.  

Rowena Burns, current chair of Health Innovation Manchester, said: “I am incredibly proud of what we have built in Health Innovation Manchester over the last seven years. I would like to thank the Board, our partners and the HInM team for their deep and sustained commitment to advancing innovation to improve outcomes for GM’s local people and places, and I know that HInM will continue to thrive under Mark’s chairmanship.”   

Health Innovation Manchester operates within the GM integrated care system and is hosted by Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT).  

Mark Cubbon, Chief Executive at MFT, and deputy chair of the GM NHS Trust Provider Collaborative, commented: “Innovation is vital to addressing our collective challenges now and into the future, and Mark’s appointment comes at a critical time, as we need to be more ambitious in our approach towards innovation adoption and spread than ever before. We are very much looking forward to welcoming Mark to Greater Manchester in his new role. 

“I would also like to give special thanks and recognition to Rowena Burns, who has played a pivotal role over the last decade in building the HInM organisation, advocating for GM as a global innovation cluster and fostering multi-industry partnerships to deliver innovation into frontline care.” 

Ben Bridgewater, Chief Executive at Health Innovation Manchester, said: “Given Mark’s breadth of global health experience, coupled with the strength of our board, partnerships and wider HInM team, we are in a strong position to build on our track record of deploying innovation to improve outcomes, enhance the sustainability of the health and care system and contribute to inclusive growth of the GM economy.”  

Leaders from across the wider health and innovation landscape have joined in extending their support for Mark’s appointment:  

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester: “To meet global societal challenges, we must break through the constraints of traditional and linear health care approaches to accelerate the time to application of cutting-edge research into practice. Mark’s appointment will take us much further forward in this regard, building on the foundations of the last seven years.”

Mark Fisher, Chief Executive at NHS GM Integrated Care Board: “Considering the significant challenges we face here as a system, and across the country, there has never been a more pressing need to innovate and adopt proven innovations at scale. I welcome Mark’s appointment to Health Innovation Manchester and the vast experience he brings will push our ambition further, learning from health systems around the world.”  


Health Innovation Manchester works across several research and innovation policy areas, integrating the functions of the national Health Innovation Network, an Academic Health Science Centre, ICS-wide digital transformation and the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration for Greater Manchester.  

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