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Her background bodes well. In fact, many of her colleagues at the consortium, carers and the National Autistic Society asked her to apply for the DH role - all aware of the work she was doing in the North East.

"It shows how long people had waited for a role like this and how keen they were for somebody to get it who had an element of understanding," she says.

For her part, she was keen to take on the role. "It sounded like an extension of all the work I'd done for the last two years," she says. "So there are elements of the job that aren't new, even though it's a new job."