Southampton heart expert appointed government tsar

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A leading specialist based at Southampton’s university hospitals has been appointed national heart tsar by the Department of Health.

Professor Huon Gray, a consultant interventional cardiologist at Southampton General Hospital, will take up the post of national clinical director for cardiovascular disease later this month.

His role will include development of the government's new cardiovascular disease outcomes strategy, which aims to improve treatment and care for patients with heart, stroke and circulatory diseases across the country.

“My extensive experience has taught me how important cardiology services are to patients throughout England and I am looking forward to working to improve the treatment of heart patients across the country,” said Prof Gray, who is also a clinical adviser to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and is chairing the development of NICE’s guidelines on STEMI (heart attack).

“Although there has been significant improvement in the treatment of some heart conditions, there is still more to do and we will be looking at this as part of the development of the cardiovascular disease outcomes strategy.”

He becomes the second University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust national clinical director following the appointment of Martin Stephens, associate medical director for clinical effectiveness, as hospital pharmacy lead in 2008.

Commenting on both Prof Gray and Dr Damian Jenkinson, who has been named national clinical director for stroke, Andrew Lansley, secretary of state for health, said: “I know that both of these highly experienced doctors are committed to making a significant difference to improving outcomes for heart and stroke patients, from prevention right through to long term management in the community."

Posted on Monday 12 March 2012