National Clinical Director for Cancer

Professor Sir Mike Richards CBE was appointed as the first National Clinical Director for Cancer in October 1999.Mike Richards

  • provides: Leadership and high level expertise in research and treatment of cancer
  • ensures: that the commitment to improving diagnosis and outcomes in cancer treatment is driven forward
  • contributes: strategic and organisational expertise to cancer diagnosis, research and treatment
  • is responsible for: ensuring high priority for cancer services, strategic direction, securing resources and improvements to services and outcomes

About Professor Sir Mike Richards: In 2000 he led the development of the NHS Cancer Plan, the first comprehensive strategy to tackle cancer in England and was then responsible for overseeing its implementation.  More recently he has led the development of the Cancer Reform Strategy (December 2007), the first ever End of Life Care Strategy (July 2008) and ‘Improving Outcomes: A strategy for cancer’ (January 2011).  He works closely with ministers, parliamentarians, civil servants, clinicians, managers, patient groups, charities, researchers and industry to achieve the objectives of the plan.

Prior to his appointment to the Department of Health, Mike was a Consultant Medical Oncologist at Guy’s Hospital specialising in breast cancer (1986-1995) and Sainsbury Professor of Palliative Medicine at St Thomas’ Hospital (1995-1999).  He was also Clinical Director of Cancer Services at Guy’s and St Thomas’ from 1993 to 1999.

Mike was closely involved in the establishment of the National Cancer Research Institute in 2001 and has been a board member since its foundation.  Between April 2006 and March 2008 he was Chairman of the NCRI Board in addition to his role as National Cancer Director.

In June 2008 Mike was asked by Alan Johnson, then Secretary of State for Health, to lead a review of policy relating to patients who choose to pay privately for drugs that are not funded on the NHS.  His recommendations were accepted and his report was published in November 2008.

Mike was appointed CBE in 2001 and was awarded a Knighthood in the 2010 New Year’s Honours.

If he ever has any spare time Mike’s hobby is hill walking, particularly in Scotland.


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