Posted on October 28, 2014

The World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH), a global initiative of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), has appointed Sir David Nicholson KCE CBE, former Chief Executive of NHS England, to chair its Universal Health Coverage Forum. 

Access to quality healthcare is a basic human right, but more than one billion people currently live without it and hundreds of millions are forced into poverty by out-of-pocket healthcare costs. With a booming global population and increasing wealth inequality, international bodies such as the World Bank and World Health Organization have called on policymakers to prioritize the development of universal health coverage (UHC).

The WISH Summit, taking place in Qatar early next year, will play a key role in addressing and trying to find solutions to the most pressing global health issues, including universal health coverage for all by engaging dialogue between high-level policymakers, academics and industry leaders. The Summit is in line with Qatar Foundation’s mission of launching initiatives as part of a drive towards fundamental healthcare development and reform.

The Forum will support policymakers by considering key questions they face as they move towards UHC, and develop recommendations as part of an evidence-based report to be presented at the next WISH Summit in Doha on 17-18 February 2015. Commenting on his role at Forum, Sir David said: “It is our duty to ensure that no one is left without access to quality healthcare simply because they cannot afford it. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the UHC Forum to develop new approaches to an issue that is moving very swiftly to the top of the global policy agenda.”

Sir David served as Chief Executive of England’s National Health Service from 2006 to 2014. He is highly regarded for overseeing reforms to NHS finances. Prior to this, he occupied a series of senior roles throughout the organization. Professor the Lord Darzi of Denham, Executive Chair of WISH, added: “As former head of the oldest and largest single-payer healthcare system in the world, Sir David is uniquely placed to lead this important work for WISH. His experience will prove invaluable as the Forum works to deliver practical, evidence based methods for extending quality healthcare provision to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.”

Universal Health Coverage is one of seven research streams to be presented at the 2015 Summit, where world leading experts will join an influential community of heads of state, government ministers, academics, clinicians, policy makers and business leaders to discuss innovative solutions to some of the most pressing global health challenges. As well as UHC, WISH will publish reports on communicating complex health messages, diabetes, dementia, mental health and well-being in children and young people, delivering affordable cancer care, and patient safety.

For more information about WISH or the 2015 Summit, please visit: