NHS Blood and Transplant appoints new Chief Executive

13 November 2018

NHS Blood and Transplant is pleased to confirm the appointment of Betsy Bassis as its new Chief Executive.

Betsy has been working as the Chief Operating Officer at Defra for the past four years and has managed wide-ranging and complex transformation programmes, including large scale IT programmes. Prior to joining Defra, Betsy spent twelve years at Centrica/British Gas.

Betsy BassisAnnouncing the appointment, NHS Blood and Transplant chair, Millie Banerjee, said:

“Betsy is highly motivated and enthusiastic about joining NHS Blood and Transplant with a clear focus on delivering a high-quality experience for our donors, patients and their families, whilst also creating an engaging and motivating environment for all of us who work here.”

Betsy will take up the role on 4th March 2019.

Betsy said: “I am delighted to be joining NHS Blood and Transplant - an organisation helping people do something extraordinary by donating blood, organs, stem cells and tissues.

I am excited to support the NHS in delivering these essential services and look forward to working with colleagues and stakeholders to do so for the benefit of patients, donors and their families.”

Betsy will take over from current interim chief executive, Sally Johnson OBE.

Sally has led the organisation since July 2018 when Ian Trenholm left to join the Care Quality Commission.

Millie said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Sally for stepping up into this leadership role over the past several months and for everything she has done to steer and guide the organisation during this time.

“I know that Sally’s knowledge and experience will be invaluable to helping Betsy learn more about the vital life-saving work of NHS Blood and Transplant and to quickly get to grips with our most pressing priorities, opportunities and challenges.”

NHS Blood and Transplant aims to improve consent rates for organ donation to save the three people a day on average who die because a suitable organ for transplant isn’t available for them.

There is a constant need to recruit new blood donors to replace those who are no longer able to donate so there is sufficient blood to treat patients. Blood or the components of blood are used to treat patients with medical conditions such as anaemia, cancer blood disorders and those having surgery.

There is a need for more people from black and Asian communities to sign up as both blood and organ donors.

Contact us

For additional information please contact the NHS Blood and Transplant Press Office on 01923 367600 or pressoffice@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Notes to editors

Betsy Bassis biography

Betsy joined the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in 2014 as Chief Operating Officer. Defra is a complex organisation comprising 33 arm's length bodies delivering critical science, incident management and other operations on a national scale.

Prior to joining Defra, Betsy spent 12 years at Centrica/British Gas in a range of senior roles, including Strategy Director for British Gas. Prior to that, she was Managing Director of British Gas Community Energy and Director of Metering.

These and other roles involved complex logistics and supply chains, and required strict attention to health and safety, employee engagement and financial performance.

Betsy is a Non-Executive Director of the housing association London and Quadrant where she also chairs the Customer Experience Committee. Born and raised in the United States, Betsy moved to London in 2000.

NHS Blood and Transplant

NHS Blood and Transplant is a joint England and Wales Special Health Authority. We provide the blood donation service for England and the organ donation service for the UK. We also provide donated tissues, stem cells and cord blood. We are an essential part of the NHS, saving and improving lives through public donation.

Organ donation

  • It is quick and easy to join the NHS Organ Donor Register. Call 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk
  • Families are always involved in organ donation discussions. You can make things easier for your family by telling them you want to donate.
  • Every day across the UK around three people who could have benefited from a transplant die because there aren’t enough organ donors.
  • Anyone can join the NHS Organ Donor Register, age and medical conditions are not necessarily a barrier to donation.
  • One donor can save or transform up to nine lives through organ donation and save and transforms even more by donating tissue.
  • The Government has announced plans for a presumed consent system of organ donation to take effect from spring 2020. Under the system, you would be a donor unless you register a decision not to donate. Families will still be able to object to donation so it’s important that you make their decision easier at a difficult time by also telling them that you want to donate.

Blood donation

  • It is quick and easy to book an appointment to give blood. Call 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.blood.co.uk
  • NHS Blood and Transplant needs to collect 1.4 million units of blood each year to meet the needs of patients across England.
  • There are four main blood groups – O, A, B and AB. O negative (the universal blood group) and B negative are particularly vulnerable to shortfalls. So, we want people with those blood groups to donate as regularly as they can.
  • The overall demand for blood is falling by 3-4% per year due to improvements in clinical practice and our work with hospitals to ensure blood is used appropriately for patients.
  • We need nearly 250,000 new blood donors each year to replace those who stop donating and to ensure we have the right mix of blood groups to match patient needs in the future.
  • We urgently need 40,000 more black donors as they are more likely to have the blood type needed to treat the increasing number of patients suffering from sickle cell disease.