Niall Dickson is leaving the BBC to become chief executive of independent health charity the King’s Fund, writes Wale Azeez.
Dickson, pictured right, BBC social affairs editor since 1995, joined the BBC as health correspondent in 1988 and a year later became chief social affairs correspondent. He leaves at the end of the year.
BBC director of news Richard Sambrook said few journalists had reflected the inner workings of both Whitehall and the Health Service better than Dickson.
“Niall has been an outstanding journalist and a highly effective editorial leader of our coverage of UK policy issues. His ability to uncover original stories and important debates has been second to none. He will leave with our very best wishes for the future,” said Sambrook.
Dickson is a former teacher who went on to become editor of Nursing Times, before joining the BBC five years later. He was winner of the British Medical Association’s Broadcaster of the Year Award in 1997 and was nominated for a Royal Television Society Award in 2001.
His numerous television and radio programmes on health and social issues have included an edition of Panorama, Out of Sight Out of Mind, which examined the future for England’s three highsecurity mental hospitals, Tug of Love, about parental kidnapping, and After the Asylum, about the impact of community care on the mentally ill.
Earlier this year, Dickson toured the UK for the Ten O’Clock News to assess public reaction to the war in Iraq.
Dickson will replace outgoing head Rabbi Julia Neuberger, an academic, writer and social commentator. A recent King’s Fund report concluded that news coverage of health issues was “seriously out of proportion with actual risks to health”.