Retirement of David Richens, GIRFT Clinical Lead for cardiothoracic surgery

David Richens, GIRFT Clinical Lead and author of the national report on cardiothoracic surgery, has announced his retirement.

David joined GIRFT in 2016 as National Clinical Lead for cardiothoracic surgery after a long career as a surgeon, including work in service development, clinical leadership and standards setting.

His clinical achievements include performing Scotland’s first heart transplant in 1992, on the first day of his appointment there. He established the Heart surgery Unit in Nottingham and worked as Head of Service, Clinical Director and Director of Surgery. He retired from clinical practice in January 2017.

Outside of his clinical work, David was a Council Member and International Director of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and chaired the Joint Committee on Intercollegiate Examinations on behalf of the four UK Surgical Royal Colleges. He worked with the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman as Internal Professional Adviser for ten years.

As National Clinical Lead for cardiothoracic surgery, David visited every one of the 31 cardiothoracic units in England, commenting that he was repeatedly struck by the passionate commitment of the clinical staff and the combination of astonishing levels of energy and enthusiasm with intellectual rigour and a commitment to innovation.

The 20 recommendations David made in his report offer the potential to achieve significant improvements in patient care, such as shorter waiting times for surgery, fewer cancellations and better outcomes from surgery for thousands of patients every year.

David Richens said: “I have been fortunate to have worked as a cardiothoracic surgeon over the past 30 years. It was my privilege to end my career as part of the Getting It Right First Time team, who are making a real difference to the NHS across the breadth of clinical practice.”

Professor Tim Briggs, said: ‘We are very grateful to David for his remarkable service to his specialty, both through his visits to cardiothoracic units and his ground-breaking national report. The GIRFT programme will continue to work with trusts to deliver David’s recommendations on the ground and achieve his ambitions for the specialty.’

A new clinical lead for cardiothoracic surgery will be recruited to continue this work.

More updates