Our board member Cath O'Brien awarded a 'Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)'

Cath O'Brien with her MBE

The Duke of Cambridge has awarded former Welsh Blood Service Director, Cath O’Brien, with a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to the Welsh Blood Service and the adoption of Cell and Gene Therapy in Wales.

A pharmacist by profession, Cath joined the Welsh Blood Service in 2013 and led the organisation through several major change programmes including the transfer of services in north Wales from the English service to form a national blood service for Wales.

Before taking on a new role as the interim Chief Operating Officer at Velindre NHS University Trust, Cath led the development of the Advanced Therapies Statement of Intent on behalf of Welsh Government. This document outlined the strategic actions necessary to allow Wales to adopt these novel therapies, including cell and gene therapies, whilst also ensuring Wales is recognised as an attractive place for the development of these therapies and associated services.

After collecting the award in Buckingham Palace, Cath said: “I am thrilled to collect this award which recognises the work that has taken place at the Welsh Blood Service. The staff have shown over the years their dedication to providing a service both patients and donors can be extremely proud of.

“Some of this work would not have been possible without collaboration across multiple organisations such as Velindre University NHS Trust and the Life Sciences Hub Wales’ Cell and Gene Therapy Special Interest Group.”

Chair of Life Sciences Hub Wales, Professor Sir Mansel Aylward said:

“We could not be happier for Cath that she has been rightly recognised for her great work with the Welsh Blood Service which has contributed to the adoption of Cell and Gene Therapy in Wales.

We are privileged to have her on our board here at Life Sciences Hub Wales. Llongyfarchiadau eich llwyddiant!”

Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething said:

“The work that has taken place at the Welsh Blood Service thanks to Cath O’Brien and her team has not only provided a service we can be proud of in Wales, but one that is now recognised on an international scale.

“I’m delighted Cath’s work has been recognised alongside nine other colleagues from NHS Wales and the Welsh social care sector.”