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Healthcare Communications Advocate

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Winner

Richard Driscoll


Summary of work

Winner: Richard Driscoll

During the 21 years that Richard Driscoll headed-up Crohn’s and Colitis UK (previously the National Association for Colitis and Crohn’s disease - NACC) he successfully developed the organisation into the most significant medical charity within the inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) community, culminating in leading the introduction of national standards for IBD that have brought sustained improvements in the care that patients with IBD now receive in NHS hospitals.

Richard moved to the charity sector as an executive of the information charity Cancerbackup when it was launched in 1985. In 1991 he was appointed Chief Executive of Crohn’s and Colitis UK and led the charity until 2012. 

As Chief Executive, Richard combined his skills in business and people management, fundraising, media relations and public affairs to lead the development of the charity from a small, volunteer-based organisation to a significant national patient organisation with 30,000 members, 36 staff and a turnover of £3m. The charity now supports thousands of patients and their families every year, provides a network of 70 local volunteer groups and funds £500,000 of research annually. 

In 2009/10, Crohn’s and Colitis UK was one of the first charities to be awarded the Department of Health Information Standard accreditation. 

This year the charity impressed the Communiqué Awards’ judging panel to win the Award for Best Use of Surveys and Data. In previous years they have twice won Communiqué Awards for Best Patient or Professional Association (2006 and 2008) and been a finalist no less than nine times, having campaigned successfully on behalf of people living with IBD in respect of healthcare, access to new medicines, disability benefits and employment opportunities. 

Richard has been at the forefront of the patient and clinical community drive to improve healthcare services for IBD. He chaired the multidisciplinary IBD Standards Group which developed the first national healthcare standards for IBD, and with his strategic vision, understanding of professional issues and commitment to patient engagement has played leading roles in the UK IBD Audit, the IBD Quality Improvement Project and more recently the IBD Registry. 

He is a trustee of the British Society of Gastroenterology and of HQIP, the body that administers government funding for national healthcare audits in the UK. In 2010 Richard was awarded the President’s Medal by the British Society of Gastroenterology, and was named Businessman of the Year by the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce.

Richard stepped down as CEO of the organisation in December 2012 and is now an independent Healthcare Consultant.

Quotes

"I consider myself to have been privileged to work with Richard Driscoll over the last thirteen years. I can honestly say that I have worked with many brilliant communicators in my career in medical PR, but Richard is unique in his ability to combine strategic results delivery with professionalism and true compassion.

He will find the process of being nominated for this prestigious Communiqué Award acutely embarrassing, as he is immensely self-effacing. However, his total commitment to Crohn’s and Colitis UK and to seeking the best possible outcomes for everyone living with IBD deserves the high praise and recognition that this award will bring."

Sarah Rogers – Managing Director, Healthcare Solutions PR

"In his role as Chief Executive of Crohn’s and Colitis UK, Richard successfully developed the organisation to become the most significant medical charity within the inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) community, culminating in leading the introduction of national standards for IBD that have brought sustained improvements in the care that patients with IBD now receive in NHS hospitals.

Richard had an ability to wear many hats at any one time.  He possessed enviable skills that allowed him to fully understand and appreciate the perspective of each of the people he engaged with – whether from industry, healthcare professionals or policy makers. At the same time, Richard always put the patient first in his endeavour to drive awareness of inflammatory bowel disease and raise standards of care. A consummate professional, his expert knowledge of the disease area combined with his engaging personality and great sense of humour, made him incredibly easy and enjoyable to work with."

Senior Communications and Patient Relations Manager 

"Richard has demonstrated an outstanding ability to communicate well with all types of people - with senior academics and health professionals, with politicians and civil servants and with the patient community, young and old, and their families. He is unfailingly calm and even-handed in making often-difficult decisions and in balancing priorities. He has an exceptional ability to understand how to enhance patient care and support even when dealing with often opaque and constantly changing health care management systems. Richard has striven tirelessly and extremely effectively to raise public awareness of the distress caused by Crohn’s and Colitis and to improve services for patients and families affected by these conditions."

Professor Jon Rhodes MD FRCP FMedSci
Past - President, British Society of Gastroenterology (2010-12)
Professor of Medicine and Consultant Gastroenterologist


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Key dates

Entry deadline 14 March 2019
Extended entry deadline 21 March 2019
Judging days 9 May and 23 May 2019
Awards Ceremony 4 July 2019

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