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National clinical leads (NCLs)

National Clinical Leads have been appointed to strengthen clinical authority within the national services and applications.

They will ensure that all parts of the NHS national IT infrastrcture have the appropriate clinical input, are fit for purpose, and deliver real benefits for both the NHS and patients.

GPs | Hospital doctors | Nurses | Midwives | Allied health professionals | Pathology | Mental health | Paediatrics and child health


Dr Manpreet Pujara - NCL for GPs

Dr Manpreet Pujara practises at the Thorndike surgery in Rochester, Kent. He trained at Southampton University and became a GP in Carshalton, Surrey.

He became an EMIS user in 1990 and was elected to the National User Group (NUG) committee in 1994 and was NUG chair between 2001 and 2007.

During this time he represented EMIS Users at the Joint GP IT Committee (JGPITC), as well as the NHS Connecting for Health's GP Pan User (GPPUG) and GP System of Choice (GPSoC) groups.

In recent years, he has been involved in a number of issues including EPS, Choose & Book and GP2GP. He became an NCL in January 2008.

"Having worked on a number of NHS Connecting for Health issues relevant to GPs, as well as on GP Choice, I am pleased to have been appointed as one of the GP National Clinical Leads. There is a great potential to bring many benefits to both patients and primary care." - Dr Manpreet Pujara.

Dr Peter Short - NCL for GPs

Dr Peter Short practises at the Stewart Medical Centre, Buxton, Derbyshire. His GP training was carried out in Tipton, West Midlands, after he qualified from Birmingham Medical School in 1983.

Peter describes himself as carrying out the "traditional GP role", with additional work in community hospitals as a clinical assistant in elderly medicine, covering GP beds and a minor injury unit.

Until his new appointment as GPs' NCL for NHS CFH in January 2008, Peter was Deputy Chair of Derbyshire Local Medical Committee and NPfIT Clinical Lead for Derby City and County.

"As NCL for GPs, I hope to see and encourage more opportunities for colleagues from all clinical disciplines to contribute to current and future developments, on a local and national basis. My aim is to foster progression from engaging their interest to ensuring their participation and influence." - Dr Peter Short.

Visit 'Connecting with GPs'.

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Hospital doctors

Dr Robert Pitcher - NCL for hospital doctors

Dr Pitcher, trained at Bristol University, qualifying in 1977 and then had house jobs in Hereford and Bristol before undertaking pathology training in Southmead Hospital, Bristol. Robert became an NCL for hospital doctors in March 2008.

In 1981 Robert moved to Newcastle as a senior registrar. After a year in Australia, Robert was appointed to a consultant post in histopathology at Treliske Hospital in Cornwall in 1987.

Robert said: "I have had an interest in medical management throughout my consultant career, initially as a Clinical Director, then as Assistant Medical Director and for the last three years, as Medical Director."

Robert is married to Sally, a lecturer in health studies at Cornwall College. They have two children, Kate, 24 and Faye, 20. They live between Truro and Falmouth in Cornwall. They also have an assorted menagerie of animals!

Peter Murphy - NCL for hospital doctors

Peter qualified from Leeds University Medical School in 1984, becoming a Fellow of the Royal College of Anaesthetists in 1990. Between 1990 and 1992 Peter worked as a Lecturer in Anaesthesia at the University of Leicester and then became a Senior Registrar on the South West Rotation, based in Bristol and Exeter.

After a final year as an Acting Assistant Professor in Paediatric Anaesthesia at the Children's Hospital, Seattle (University of Washington), Peter was appointed, in 1995, to the post of Consultant in Paediatric Anaesthesia and Intensive Care at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children (BRHC). Peter’s clinical work covers Paediatric Cardiac Anaesthesia and Paediatric Intensive Care and he is the Clinical Governance Lead for Paediatric Intensive Care.

Over recent years Peter has developed an interest in Health Informatics, completing an Honours Degree in IT and Computing with the Open University (2007) and undertaking a part-time secondment with NHS Connecting for Health (CfH), as a Clinical Advisor in the Technology Office in Leeds. He was part of the Design Steering Groups for the National Summary Care Record and the Central Medication Record and is also a Board Member of the UK Faculty of Health Informatics.

His current interests relate to Intensive Care Health Information Systems, Electronic Prescribing and the development of Telemedicine and Teleconferencing solutions. Peter also has an interest in Medical Simulation and is helping to develop the Paediatric Cardiac Theatres Human Factors Training Programme at Bristol Children's Hospital which is using simulation to identify how both human and situational/environmental factors can result in error.

Peter said: "I am especially interested in patient safety and the role of Human Factors in clinical risk. I strongly believe that new technologies and innovative ways of working will result in real benefits and play an increasingly important role in improving patient safety within our hospitals.

"I also understand that implementing new technologies is not without risk and can require significant changes in working practices. All clinicians know that the deployment of new systems within hospitals can be extremely challenging and I believe that any successful "roll-out" of Health Informatics systems will depend on hospital doctors being given the time and encouragement to actively engage with the process.

"NHS Trusts and clinicians must be encouraged to participate in genuine knowledge sharing if we are to see rapid progress and realise the benefits Health Informatics can undoubtedly offer."

Visit 'Connecting with hospital doctors'.

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Mike Jones - NCL Mental Health Nursing

Mike Jones

Mike Jones is the Mental Health Product Manager at the London Programme for IT. Initially in this role he was responsible for the development of best practice for the mental health workstream in London. He has since become responsible for the end to end product process to support the mental health programme in London - ensuring effective processes are in place to capture and understand NHS requirements for the NHS Care Records Service.

Prior to this Mike managed a local initiative in Brighton for implementing an early system for electronic health records.

Mike said: "I am very excited to be taking on this challenging new role and look forward to working with my mental health colleagues across the NHS. As national clinical lead, I will be able to act as a point of contact for clinicians, professional bodies and royal colleges to voice their ideas and any concerns. This new role offers a great opportunity for me to work on their behalf to ensure their requirements are captured and fed into the National Programme so that it can continue to deliver safe, reliable and efficient systems and services."

Visit 'Connecting with nurses'.


Julie Tindale - NCL for midwifery

Julie Tindale is Maternity Information System Manager at the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust and has worked for 28 years as a midwife.

She recently secured funding to pilot the use of mobile technology in her community, so that midwives can access whole Primary Care Trust systems, aiding early detection and referrals for problems.

Julie's previous roles have included being a member of the Clinical Engagement Team for the National Care Records Service in the Birmingham and Black Country areas.

In addition to her NHS role, she has worked in the Princess Mary’s Royal Air Force Nursing Service as a commissioned officer, with experience of working in Germany and also in the Middle East with the Saudi Arabian National Guard, in a large tertiary referral hospital.

Julie explained: "My role now is to talk to midwives and educators, to find out more about their needs and also how current good practice can be integrated with the new systems.

"It is vital that midwives are supported to make the most of the opportunities presented by NHS Connecting for Health. The programme can and will make a real difference to both midwives' and mothers' and babies' lives, improving the safety and quality of care."

Visit 'Connecting with midwives'.

Visit 'Making a positive difference', a joint article by Julie Tindale and Barbara Stuttle on engagement with nurses, midwives and AHPs.

Visit Delivering High Quality Midwifery Care.

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Allied health professionals

Yvonne Pettigrew - NCL for allied health professionals

Yvonne Pettigrew is Associate Director for Allied Health Professionals and Head of Therapy Services at the University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHBFT).

Yvonne Pettigrew is Associate Director for Allied Health Professionals and Head of Therapy Services at the University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB). Yvonne's previous roles include clinical work as an Occupational Therapist in the acute and community sectors as well as with social services. She has also spent a period of time in an American hospital in the Middle East. Most recently Yvonne has had senior management and professional leadership responsibility in multi-centre and teaching hospital environments.

Yvonne has always had an interest in the appropriate use of technology to improve clinical services and is especially keen to see Allied Health Professional (AHP) clinical and commissioning recording integrated meaningfully at patient and organisational levels. She commented: "In my role for NHS Connecting for Health, I will be engaging regularly with AHPs, helping to communicate the benefits of informatics in the workplace as well as finding out more about AHPs professional needs to feed this back into shaping policy and system development.

"Choose and Book is a great example of a tool that can enable GPs and patients to access AHP services, and we need to ensure that we maximise the benefits for practitioners by using their feedback to help develop a system which both reflects their needs and enables better inter-professional working.

"I will do this via our national conferences, existing professional networks and by responding to individual enquiry. I’m very keen that we get better at sharing good practice as there are so many exciting and innovative examples that could benefit our patients."

Visit 'Connecting with allied health professionals'.

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Sue Thomson

Sue is a National Clinical Lead for Allied Health Professionals NHS Connecting for Health and currently combines this role working three days a week as Clinical Strategy Manager in the Information Management and Technology Directorate for NHS Northamptonshire Provider Services. To ensure that her clinical skills and understanding of the real work of clinicians are maintained to a suitably high standard, Sue also carries out face to face treatment of patients who attend an inpatient Neurological Rehabilitation Centre.
Sue began her career in the NHS as an Occupational Therapist working in medical rehabilitation at the Ministry of Defence Unit, Headley Court. She then moved into social care, working both clinically and managerially in rural, urban and inner city environments. From here she moved into the Acute sector working initially in Acute Medicine. Following this she was instrumental in developing Occupational Therapy Services in the rehabilitation of the elderly, specialist services for the younger disabled, those recovering from stroke and other neurological conditions.

One of the most professionally satisfying of her activities during this time was the setting up of a inner city intermediate care team of NHS staff, integrated with social care. From here her career advanced into senior management when she became Professional Lead for Occupational Therapy in Northampton Primary Care Trust. This enabled further development of her skills in service design, delivery and communication with commissioners. Sue has much practical and managerial experience of multidisciplinary working from her time in each of the sectors of Social Care, Acute and Community.

Sue's first encounter with technology began when she moved into the acute sector and played a part in the initial deployment of one of the early therapy information systems. Sue now works within the information technology world, offering her clinical skills and knowledge to ensure that the NHS locally, regionally and nationally is focussed on achieving outcomes that are all about safely supporting and improving patient care and wellbeing.

Sue explained: "My understanding of the challenges of Information Technology is first hand and I continue to be inspired and enthused by the uses and benefits technological advances can bring.

"I want to bring together my knowledge and experience of the clinical environment and provide the clinical voice that is essential to ensure that all the IT solutions we introduce are aimed at:

  • improving the patient experience (Quality)
  • service delivery (Productivity)
  • staff engagement (Innovation).

At the same time Sue is keen that all clinicians embrace technology positively: "I am a passionate champion of the use of Information Technology in healthcare and believe the key for Allied Health Professionals is to continue to not only understand, but to actively engage in promoting the use of Technology and in their professional lives. I believe the technology pathway supports patients, their treatments and the care they expect from all Allied Health Professionals."

Visit 'Connecting with allied health professionals'.

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Dr Gifford Batstone - NCL for pathology

Dr Batstone, became an NCL for pathology in March 2008. He studied medicine at St Thomas'Hospital, London before training in pathology in Bristol and Southampton.

He was a consultant chemical pathologist in Salisbury and then undertook a number of educational roles including that of postgraduate dean. Gifford has now returned to laboratory work at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals where he is also involved in teaching medical students.

Gifford has been involved in the implementation of Department of Health initiatives in clinical audit, medical education, and information technology. His wife is Chief Executive of Basingstoke and North Hampshire Foundation Trust.

Gifford commented: "Linking best evidence with laboratory requesting and reporting will increasingly enhance both the efficiency and effectiveness of pathology services."

Visit 'Pathology Messaging'.

Visit Gifford's pathology web page.

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Paediatrics and child health

Dr David Low - NCL for Paediatrics and child health

Dr Low became the national clinical lead for paediatrics and child health in October 2008.

He has been a consultant paediatrician for 22 years at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, specialising as a Designated Doctor for Safeguarding for the last 15 years.

Dr Low is also a member of the NHS Connecting for Health Child Health Programme Board, which was set up to ensure child health systems within national services and applications were standardised and fit for purpose.

David has been involved in producing documentation that identifies the specific information needs of children in comparison to adults. He would like to use this for discussion with paediatricians and system providers as the basis for a unified child health record.

David is married to Carole, a clinical geneticist, and they have three grown up sons. When he is not safeguarding the health of children he keeps himself busy by gardening, supporting and listening to the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and rowing – he has been a cox for almost 40 years - and appreciating Victorian architecture.

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Mental health

Dr Joe McDonald - NCL for mental health

Dr McDonald, is a consultant adolescent psychiatrist at South of Tyne and Wearside. He became an NCL for mental health in March 2008. Joe has a very special reason for deciding to become an NCL.

He explains: "Two weeks before our wedding, I got a telephone call from an accident and emergency department to say my wife Fiona had crashed her car into a lorry and was in a coma. I jumped in my car and drove the 20 miles to the hospital in record time.

"I arrived to find my wife awaiting neurosurgery. The staff were unaware that Fiona was an insulin-dependent diabetic and was merely suffering from hypoglycaemia and a bump on the head.

"After the administration of glucose she was perfectly well in 15 minutes. Electronic records strike me as a good idea.

"I am looking forward to the challenge of developing electronic care records in mental health, where every recent report into psychiatric disaster has pointed the finger at 'failure to communicate'."

Joe lives on Tyneside and claims to be an eternal optimist as a Newcastle United supporter! He trained at Nottingham Medical School.

Visit Joe's mental health web page.

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