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Two clinical leads appointed to head up GIRFT’s vascular surgery workstream

Two new clinical leads have been appointed by Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) to review the current provision of vascular surgery services in England and move forward with priorities for improvement.

Consultant vascular surgeons Rachel Bell (The Newcastle-upon-Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) and Jonathan Boyle (Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) pick up the work begun by former GIRFT clinical lead Mike Horrocks, who stepped down from the role in 2021.

Their work will involve reforming the Joint Vascular Programme Board with representation from a range of professional groups and societies; reviewing the progress of vascular network reconfiguration; and developing metrics to support colleagues to monitor performance and improve patient care and outcomes.

Rachel Bell is the immediate past-president of the Vascular Society of Great Britain & Ireland (VSGBI). She has been the chair of the Circulation Foundation and is a past president of the British Society of Endovascular Therapy. She represents the north-east region on the NHS England Clinical Reference Group for vascular surgery.

“I am delighted to have been appointed as joint national GIRFT lead with Jon, as I am a big fan of the GIRFT values and processes. We recognise that, post-COVID, there is some important work to do, using our data to help arterial centres with pathways and timelines to interventions.”

Jonathan Boyle is a past president of the VSGBI (2021-2022), was president of the British Society of Endovascular Therapy from 2013 to 2015 and clinical lead for the National Vascular Registry from 2017 to 2020.

He is the chair of the Vascular Surgery and Interventional Radiology Steering Group for NHS England’s Outcomes and Registries Programme and is also a vascular surgery clinical lead for the National Consultant Information Programme (NCIP).

“It is vital we reignite the GIRFT vascular surgery workstream to address the wide variations in practice and deteriorating performance metrics for aortic aneurysm repair and carotid endarterectomy. In doing so, we can drive improved patient safety and deliver enhanced pathways and outcomes.”

The GIRFT national report for vascular surgery was published in 2018, the third national report to be published by GIRFT after orthopaedic surgery and general surgery. As part of his review, the then clinical lead Mike Horrocks visited all 70 NHS trusts in England conducting vascular surgery and his national report set out 17 recommendations to improve the way vascular surgery was delivered, with the goal of enabling patients to receive urgent surgery sooner.

“I am very pleased to welcome these two highly experienced clinicians to the GIRFT programme, to continue the excellent work begun by Mike Horrocks. Vascular surgery was one of the first specialties reviewed by GIRFT and, as such, there have been many changes in the intervening years. It’s now time to look again at the current provision of services to review progress and see where further improvements can be made.”

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