The chief executive of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Paul Rees, is to become the next chief executive of the National Pharmacy Association (NPA), it has been announced.

The NPA has today confirmed the appointment of Mr Rees who will begin in post from 27 November. He will replace Mark Lyonette who is retiring after five years in post.

Mr Rees has a background in journalism and communications, having worked at the Times, Sunday Telegraph and BBC, as well as at the Charities Aid Foundation and as head of communications at the Home Office, and as director of communication at the Association of University Teachers.

He has helped to lead on several campaigns, including at the National Housing Federation which brought about an end to the pre-payment meter tariff charged by energy companies to low-income households for gas and electricity.

In addition, he co-led efforts to protect the pay and conditions of university lecturers with the Association of University Teachers, and has worked on two public inquiries.

Meanwhile, as former director of policy and engagement at the Royal College of General Practitioners, Mr Rees helped lead a campaign which saw the government and NHS England publish the General Practice Forward View and saw 11% of the NHS budget in England ring-fenced for general practice.

He has been in post as chief executive of the Royal College of Psychiatrists for the last seven years – of which he said was ‘an honour and a privilege’.

While thanking colleagues at the college, he highlighted the ‘key role’ it had played during his tenure ‘in pushing mental health to the top of the political agenda’.

On his move to the NPA, he said he was ‘absolutely delighted’ to be joining an organisation which played ‘such a critical role in supporting our independent community pharmacies, and in providing services to the entire pharmacy sector’.

Mr Rees will be supported by outgoing chief executive Mr Lyonette for some weeks on his arrival to ensure a smooth handover.

‘I look forward to working with Mark during the handover period, and with the NPA Board and staff team over the coming years – and relish the opportunity to serve our hard-working members, who deliver vital patient care and other important services in communities right across the UK,’ added Mr Rees.

Meanwhile, NPA chair, Nick Kaye, said: ‘We are looking forward to welcoming Paul to the NPA, after a rigorous recruitment process identified him as an excellent fit for our organisation.

‘At the Royal College of Psychiatrists and throughout his career, he has made a significant impact and effected tangible change in healthcare and society.’

Mr Kaye also paid tribute to Mr Lyonette and thanked him for ‘his great work’ since 2018, adding: ‘He still has plenty of work to do at the NPA before his well-earned retirement.’