A NEW era in public health care is being ushered in with the appointment of a new director of public health for North Yorkshire.

Doctor and epidemiologist Lincoln Sargeant, a graduate of the University of the West Indies, and Cambridge University, took up his new post this month.

“This is an exciting time to be at the forefront of public health policy and strategy,” said Dr Sargeant.

“The transfer of public health responsibilities from the NHS to county councils like North Yorkshire will provide a tremendous opportunity for a truly joined-up approach to the really important issues.

“With one organisation being responsible for so many key areas, for example education and economic policy, there is real scope to make a difference to people’s lives and their health.”

The county’s executive member for health, Coun Clare Wood, said: “The Government’s reforms of the National Health Service have provided the county council with the opportunity to make a real difference in the field of public health.

“I am delighted that we have found in Lincoln such an excellent and highly-regarded health professional to lead that process.”

Dr Sargeant, who is 45, was born in Nevis, in the West Indies. After graduating in medicine at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica, he gained a PhD in Epidemiology and Public Health at Cambridge. He now lives in Ripon.

He was previously consultant in public health with the NHS in Cambridgeshire.