New clinical lead for ENT ‘looking forward to the challenge’

Francis Stafford GIRFT's new clinical lead for ENT

A new clinical lead has been appointed to head the GIRFT ear, nose and throat (ENT)  workstream as the programme drives forward its work to support elective recovery across the NHS in England.

Francis (Frank) Stafford, a consultant ENT and head and neck surgeon at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, replaces Andrew Marshall as the GIRFT clinical lead for ENT surgery. Mr Marshall was the author of the programme’s 2019 national report, which made a series of 23 recommendations for improving services, including carrying out more procedures as day case to reduce admissions and waiting times.

Mr Stafford said: “I am delighted to be able to follow on from the excellent work done by Andrew Marshall as GIRFT lead for ENT.

“I am excited by the new challenge, not least the opportunity to positively affect the development of standards of practice in the specialty and implementation across the country. In particular, I look forward to helping units that have encountered obstacles in improving service provision and introducing strategies to tackle the current waiting list problems.”

Mr Stafford trained in the north of England, Scotland and the USA. His first consultant post was in Aberdeen in 1989 and since then he has held substantive consultant posts in Sunderland, Newcastle, Chelmsford and Abu Dhabi, with stints in Egypt, Dubai and Barbados.

He is currently Chair of the Otolaryngology Surgical Specialty Board of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd), and a member of ENTUK Council and ENTUK head and neck group. He was formerly the Chair of the complex head and neck clinical reference group (CRG) and a member of the specialised cancer surgery CRG. He has also acted as advisor to NICE and National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) and is a regional advisor in ENT to the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

Professor Tim Briggs, Chair of the GIRFT programme and National Director of Clinical Improvement for NHS England and NHS Improvement, said: “Frank brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in ENT services to this GIRFT role and understands first-hand the challenges facing the speciality at this unprecedented time for the NHS.

“He will be a valuable addition to the team as we work at pace to support trusts, systems and regions to recover services and reduce waiting lists – now more important than ever.”

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