Mark Cheetham appointed to lead GIRFT general surgery workstream

New GIRFT clinical lead for general surgery aims to focus on support for rebuilding elective work

A new clinical lead has been appointed to head the Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) general surgery workstream, driving the programme’s work to support and enable specialty teams to meet the challenges presented by the pandemic.

Mark Cheetham, a consultant in general and colorectal surgery at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Hospital Trust (SaTH), will lead revisits to general surgery teams across England, presenting refreshed data and looking at the progress of recommendations outlined in GIRFT’s 2017 national report for the specialty. He replaces former clinical lead and author of the national report, John Abercrombie.

Mr Cheetham said: “I am really excited to start work as the national clinical lead for general surgery at GIRFT, building on the work already carried out by John Abercrombie to reduce unwarranted variation in the speciality, and revisiting each general surgery department in England.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on surgery, and rebuilding elective surgery in a new form is going to be an important focus for me.”

GIRFT’s 2017 national report presented a series of 20 recommendations aimed at improving outcomes for patients and eliminating unwarranted variation in areas such as length of stay, infection rates and procurement costs.

Professor Tim Briggs, Chair of the GIRFT programme and National Director of Clinical Improvement for NHS England and NHS Improvement, said: “Our general surgery report was one of the first to be published by the programme and it’s now time to go back out to teams with new data and to see how things have improved and changed in the years since then.

“I am delighted to welcome Mark to GIRFT, and look forward to seeing his impact as we work to support the NHS in the huge challenges we face as a result of the pandemic.”

Mr Cheetham has been at SaTH since 2005. His specialist interests are in the surgery of inflammatory bowel disease, proctology, abdominal wall reconstruction and emergency surgery, and he has a keen interest in clinical leadership and quality improvement.

He is a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England and a member of the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland, the Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland and the International Society of Surgery.

25 January 2022