Niall Dickson became Chief Executive of The King's Fund in January 2004.
Since he moved to The King's Fund the organisation has led the debate around long-term conditions, pioneered our understanding of the market and choice in health care and commissioned major inquiries, including Securing Good Care for Older People: Taking a long-term view (2006), a review of social care funding chaired by Sir Derek Wanless that led in 2007 to the government's announcement of a Green Paper on the future funding of social care in England. The following year The King's Fund published an independent inquiry into the safety of maternity services in England, Safe Births: Everybody's business(2008). The King's Fund was granted a Royal Charter in 2008 enabling it to modernise its governance arrangements.
In 2008 he chaired a cross-party health commission for the Local Government Association (LGA). He also chaired a working group for the Department of Health on the governance of professional regulation.
Niall is a member of the Cabinet Office Honours Committee (Health), the NHS National Stakeholder Forum, and the ministerial sounding board on social care. He is a trustee of the Consumers Association (Which?) and of the Leeds Castle Foundation, a patron of the children's charity ERIC (Education and Resources for Improving Childhood Continence) and sits on the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Court of Governors.
He has been awarded honorary fellowships from the University of Cardiff (2006) and the Institute of Education in London (2007) and has been made an honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (2007) and the Royal College of General Practitioners (2008). He has also been awarded an honorary doctorate from Oxford Brookes University.
Niall was educated at Glasgow Academy, Edinburgh Academy and at Edinburgh University, where he read politics and modern history and, at postgraduate level, education. He taught for two years at a comprehensive school in Edinburgh before joining the policy and research body, the National Corporation for the Care of Old People (now the Centre for Policy on Ageing). From there he went to Age Concern England, first as a Press Officer and later as Head of Publishing.
In 1981 he took over as Editor of Therapy, a weekly newspaper for the allied health professions, and in 1983 was appointed Editor of Nursing Times. During his editorship, the journal doubled its circulation and won a string of awards including, on two occasions, the magazine industry's top accolade 'Business and Professional Periodical of the Year'.
In 1988 Niall moved to the BBC as Health Correspondent and went on to become Chief Social Affairs Correspondent. He became Social Affairs Editor in 1995 where he headed a team of more than 80 journalists covering all aspects of social policy.
At the BBC his day-to-day work was focused on the Ten O'clock News and the Today programme on Radio 4. He has also been responsible for numerous television and radio programmes on health and social issues.
In 1997 he won the Charles Fletcher Medical Broadcaster of the Year Award from the British Medical Association, and in 2002 won a nomination in the Royal Television Society Awards.
Niall left The King's Fund in 2010.