Sheffield clinicians to play leading role in national reform of specialised services

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Two leading clinicians at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have been appointed as national chairs of NHS England’s Clinical Reference Groups, which aim to improve outcomes for millions of people receiving specialist NHS services across the country.

Prof John Snowdown at Sheffield TAS, Consultant Haematologist at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Mr Ashley Cole, Consultant Spinal Surgeon at the Northern General Hospital and Sheffield Children’s Hospital were among 41 UK-wide clinicians appointed by NHS England to help drive reform of specialised services.

Professor John Snowden will chair the Blood & Marrow Transplantation group on the national Blood and Infection care programme while Mr Ashley Cole will chair the Spinal Services Group on the national Trauma care programme.

They will use their expert knowledge to help NHS England develop new treatments, services and standards in specialist NHS services, and ensure best value is achieved within the resources available.

Specialised services commissioned by NHS England have a combined annual budget of around £15.7 billion in 2016/17 and are grouped into six national programmes of care. Each programme is then supported by the Clinical Reference Groups focusing on specific clinical specialties.

Professor John Snowden, Consultant Haematologist at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It is a huge honour for me to be appointed to this national leadership role to shape the delivery of blood and marrow stem cell transplantation and related state-of-the-art cellular therapies across NHS England over the next several years from my base in Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and the University of Sheffield.”

Ashley Cole picture_webMr Ashley Cole, Consultant Spinal Surgeon at the Northern General Hospital and Sheffield Children’s Hospital, said: “As Chair of the previous Spinal Surgery CRG since 2013, this role is familiar but the reconfiguration combining spinal surgery and spinal cord injuries will bring exciting new challenges especially with the NHSE Improving Spinal Care Project and the National Spinal Cord Injury Review, which involves the implementation of regional spinal networks to integrate spinal care across each region.”

The appointment of Chairs to the new Clinical Reference Groups was a competitive process, with the roles – advertised in April – attracting a combined 600 applications for chairs and members across the Clinical Reference Groups. Chairs are appointed to serve for three years.

For the first time, the role of CRG Chair will be a formal, remunerated NHS England position – recognising the importance of the position both in terms of providing expert clinical advice and oversight in their specialist area, as well as contributing to the wider strategic and clinical development of specialised services.