Cardiothoracic surgery clinical lead Doug West

New GIRFT lead to follow-up on cardiothoracic report

The Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) programme has welcomed a new clinician to lead its work in helping to improve cardiothoracic surgery services across England.

Doug West, who has been a consultant thoracic surgeon at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust since 2011, replaces David Richens as GIRFT’s clinical lead for cardiothoracic surgery. Mr Richens retired in 2018, a few months after the publication of the programme’s national report on cardiothoracic surgery, which he authored.

Mr Richens and the GIRFT team visited all 31 cardiothoracic units in England before making a series of 20 recommendations in the national report, offering 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.

Mr West will be leading the programme’s revisits to units, presenting refreshed data and looking at the progress of recommendations and where further improvements can be made.

Read the report and its recommendations here

Professor Tim Briggs, chair of the GIRFT programme and national director of clinical improvement for the NHS, said: “It’s great to welcome Doug to the GIRFT programme to carry on the good work started by David Richens.

“Our 2018 national cardiothoracic report identified a number of ways to improve practices, process and outcomes. Through our revisits to trusts, we will look at what changes have been made since we originally visited and how we can continue to help reduce delays and time spent in hospital for patients.”

Mr West, who has also been involved in the development of NHS England’s National Optimal Lung Cancer Pathway, said: “I’m excited to be joining the GIRFT programme to lead the revisits for cardiothoracic surgery.

“My previous work with national audit in our specialty has given me an insight into the high quality of care and innovation delivered by cardiothoracic surgeons in the NHS – the challenge for our specialty now is to make sure that all patients in England can access that high quality care by sharing best practices across the whole country.”

President of the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery (SCTS), Mr Richard Page, welcomed Mr West’s appointment and said: “The GIRFT programme and the whole cardiothoracic surgical community is very fortunate in having such a talented and enthusiastic surgeon as Doug West as the new GIRFT lead for our specialty.

“Apart from working in a highly functioning surgical unit, Doug has extensive experience of comparative surgical audit and will build on the excellent work carried out by David Richens for GIRFT over the past few years.

“All my colleagues within the SCTS look forward to working with Doug in his new role.”

Read more on Doug West’s biography here

9 January 2020