June 19, 2024

A pharmacist has been appointed as the national clinical director for cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention for NHS England.

Helen Williams, who works as a consultant pharmacist for cardiovascular disease and clinical care professional lead for long-term conditions for South East London Integrated Care System, was previously national speciality adviser for CVD prevention at NHS England.

National clinical directors are practising clinicians from across England, who work part-time at NHS England, providing clinical leadership, advice, input and support across specific areas of NHS conditions and services. Williams is currently the only pharmacist to hold a post of clinical director with NHS England.

Williams was also clinical adviser to the Academic Health Science Networks’ national atrial fibrillation (AF) programme, and developed the pharmacist-led virtual clinic model to optimise uptake of anticoagulation in AF, which has been adopted across England.

As speciality adviser for CVD prevention at NHS England, she worked on the delivery of the national CVD ambitions for AF, blood pressure and cholesterol in the ‘NHS Long Term Plan‘, which was published in 2019.

Commenting on her appointment, Williams said: “Pharmacists and their teams play an integral role in supporting people to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease and I’m proud to represent the profession as national clinical director.

“I look forward to continuing to work with colleagues from across the whole healthcare system to drive improvements that make a difference to patients and help people to live longer, healthier lives.”

James Davies, director for England at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), said: “We extend our warmest congratulations to her personally from the RPS. Helen’s outstanding credentials and dedicated clinical practice in the field of cardiovascular disease — over many years, across all settings — leave her perfectly placed to provide leadership and drive transformation of services for the benefits of patients.

“Naturally, we are pleased to see a consultant pharmacist appointed to this senior role. Helen, similar to an ever-increasing number of pharmacists, has demonstrated through credentialing the level of competence expected of a consultant pharmacist. She is a clinical expert who works at a senior level, delivering care and driving change across the healthcare system.’’

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