Southend consultant’s prestigious new role
30 April 2013
Southend University Hospital’s leading stroke specialist has landed one of the top jobs in the recent NHS reorganisation.
Dr Tony O'Brien, a consultant at Southend since 1995, has been
appointed clinical director of the cardiovascular division of the
new Strategic Clinical Network and Senate for the East of England,
which covers a population of 5.8m people. He will provide
leadership on services for stroke, heart, kidney and diabetic
Clinical Senates have been created across the country to give an
expert overview of healthcare for their region and provide
independent advice and leadership on how health services can best
be tailored to meet the specific needs of their local populations.
Members are chosen for their wealth of experience, proven track
record in designing health policy and for the high regard they are
held in by their peers.
Dr O'Brien, who is one of four clinical directors (the others
are for maternity and children, mental health and neurology and
cancer) said: "We will be putting the focus back onto patients and
how they recover following treatment. And we want to ensure that
everybody has the same access to high-quality health services no
matter where they live."
With an ageing population, vascular diseases such as blood
pressure and atrial fibrillation (irregular or abnormally fast
heart rate) are a common theme so Dr O'Brien's expertise will be
"We will be looking to pick up and treat these conditions before
they reach the stage where the patient needs hospital
"We want all NHS patients to have a positive experience, help
them recover better from their illness and protect them both at
home and in hospital."
The new role, he admits, brings with it a 'huge remit'.
Dr O'Brien, who was previously the East of England lead
consultant for stroke, is also passionately committed to ensuring
that patients with mental health problems get an equal deal within
He said: "My appointment is a real honour for Southend
University Hospital. It will put us at the heart of
decision-making as the clinical senate works with the clinical
commissioning groups (CCGs) to formulate health policy.
"The key word is improvement - we will be concentrating
primarily on the outcome for patients.
"I believe I was chosen because of my background in stroke
services at a regional level where I showed that I can enable
change for the better to happen."