BHRS Council Elections – Vote Now!

Dear BHRS Member,

President-Elect – In the election for President-Elect only one candidate, Dr Alistair Slade applied, and so Alistair will take up position as President Elect at HRC in October and take over from Richard Schilling in 2020.

Nurse – We had two applicants for the three vacancies so Angela Hall and Sarah Clarke have been elected to Council. We still have one more position for an arrhythmia nurse so we would ask all members to consider whether they might stand for Council. Any interested candidate should contact admin@bhrs.com and we can co-opt that individual pending an election. We will be changing the BHRS Constitution at our AGM to allow elections at any time in the year rather than the current fixed arrangements linked to the AGM.

For the Doctor & Physiologist representative posts, it is extremely pleasing to see the high number and calibre of candidates who are willing to run for Council and contribute their expertise.

Please read the personal statements below and

click the button to place your vote.

You will need your BHRS Membership Number to vote. Incomplete or duplicate votes will be rejected. Votes must be cast before 12 midday on Friday 23rd August 2019. The successful candidates will officially assume their Council role at the Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 8th October 2019, 18.00-19.00 at The International Convention Centre, Birmingham.

The first council meeting will take place on the morning of Wednesday 9 October at The International Convention Centre, Birmingham, between 7:00am-8:30am.

Doctors

Dr Ashley Nisbet

I have been a Consultant Cardiac Electrophysiologist at the Bristol Heart Institute since 2014, having trained in Glasgow and as a fellow in Royal Melbourne Hospital. My interests are in ablation of complex arrhythmias, particularly atrial arrhythmias in the adult congenital heart disease population. I am passionate about education and training at both postgraduate and undergraduate level and represent EP trainees on Severn Deanery STC and I am lead for the undergraduate and postgraduate cardiology training programme through the University of Bristol Medical School and Bristol Heart Institute. I also sit on the MCQ writing committee for the EHRA Certification Examination. I co-ordinate in house education programmes for junior doctors and allied professionals because I feel very strongly that investing time in training and development, and thus supporting career progression is key to recruiting and retaining quality team members within the specialty of EP. As a member of BHRS Council I would use these skills and links to develop education and training pathways within the specialty for trainees and allied professionals. Furthermore, as the number of female interventional electrophysiologists within the UK grows, there is under-representation of female electrophysiologists in leadership roles across the UK and Europe and also within the committee. As a member of the international body of female electrophysiologists, using this network of contacts I would love to develop a mentorship and role modelling programme for female trainees in EP to ensure we encourage and support high quality candidates into the specialty in the future.

Dr Nicol Vaidya

I am an Associate Specialist in a busy district general hospital and I am standing for the post of Doctor Representative from a non-ablating centre. We have a busy CRM department undertaking a large range of devices and having close links to three tertiary centres for ablation/extraction/surgery and transplant.
I have been running our AF service for the last 19 years and established an outreach clinic with our tertiary electrophysiologists.
I am passionate about promoting and improving care for arrhythmia patients at a DGH level, the vast majority of these patients will receive the bulk if not all of their care at their local hospital and only a minority will need more complex intervention. For those that do, fostering close links with tertiary centres either through visiting Consultants or virtual clinic networks can minimise delays and make access less daunting for patients. This should be encouraged and facilitated by BHRS.
As a specialty we need to do more to recruit and retain our vital physiologists. We need national recognition and regulation enabling transferable extended roles. I feel BHRS should be involved in promoting this as they are an essential part of UK Cardiac rhythm management.
I would be honoured to be given the opportunity to represent the teams on the coalface of UK rhythm management.

Dr Paul Foley

This is a very exciting time for those treating heart rhythm problems. I am a cardiologist working in a centre with close links to ablation centres. Pacing technology is developing and we need to help train those keen to learn physiological pacing – His bundle and left bundle branch pacing as well maintain standards of the more evolved techniques. Increasing numbers of patients with devices can overwhelm centres, so we have moved to remote follow up for the majority. This allows physiologists to work from home, which improves staff retention whilst improving patient safety. New techniques bring their own challenges, and it is vital to allow research to flourish amongst physiologist, nursing staff and cardiologists by involvement in research studies as co-investigators with the aim of leading studies. The on-going development of physiologists and nursing staff in device implantation needs to continue as medical staff numbers are predicted to decline.
We need to voice the need for heart rhythm treatments, and promote practical help for our patients with atrial fibrillation to adjust their lifestyle analogous to type 2 diabetes mellitus.
I have been a cardiologist for 10 years. I spent 2 happy years undertaking CRT research and now continue device and other research. Recently, I edited and authored papers celebrating 70 years of pacing in the British Journal of Cardiology. My aims would be to try and improve care for patients, encourage existing staff and trainees and promote normal heart rhythms and physiological pacing. Let’s make pacing great again!

Dr Ross Hunter

I am keen to stand as a doctor representative for the BHRS to help represent all the professional groups contributing towards arrhythmia management and to improve clinical services for patients. I want to facilitate physiologist advancement through the professional doctorate programme I created at QMUL and hope to open up nationally, through research roles for nurses and physiologists, and through promoting consultant nurse and physiologist posts. I want to help increase opportunities for fellows by helping them find the right research posts, clinical fellowship and fellowships abroad. I’d promote flexibility for fellows moving between deaneries and arranging time our of training. I’d like to see greater opportunities to reward high achieving fellows in clinical and research training through BHRS awards and prizes for a wider variety of activities such as top exam scores, best traces cases, best innovations in clinical care, best papers published, more categories for young investigator competitions, and best supervisor awards to promote good supervision. I would like the opportunity to promote research nationally, particularly multicentre collaborations through the multicentre trials group. Through BHRS position statements, publishing priorities for research and providing supporting documents we could better facilitate access to funding for arrhythmia research from national bodies and the BHF. Most importantly I would like the opportunity to promote access to high quality arrhythmia services for patients around the UK by coordinating sharing of protocols, pathways and policies to help us all make care as high quality, efficient and reproducible as it can be.

Dr Stephen Murray

After tremendous expansion over the last decade, EP and pacing is likely to face tough times, from funding to staffing and the need for expansion of sites providing more advanced treatments. I believe as someone who has lived through the ‘good times’ it is important to work to keep our standing in the NHS and to have increased accessibility of services to all patients. I believe BHRS needs to maintain its pressure on increasing physiologists and nurse practitioners in our field, (which incidentally I feel I am well positioned to champion, having been in several institutions where these roles were first created, and even going as far to marry one!)
I will bring my own passion for the actual practise of EP, and the ‘doing’ of the procedures as my primary motivation to council. My other major concern is how our practise and technology can become more environmentally sustainable within the next decade of our climate emergency – I’m sure I cannot be alone in my horror at waste in the EP/pacing lab.

Dr Stuart Russell

I would like to apply for the position of non-cardiac centre, non-EP doctor.
The BHRS has been established with a strong core of Tertiary Centre Cardiologists with expertise in EP/ablation. I welcome the opportunity to diversify the council with the introduction of specialists who are based outside of a cardiac centre and with alternative sub-specialist interests.
I am a Cardiologist based in a District Hospital without a catheter laboratory in East Cheshire. My specialist interests include heart failure and complex devices. I would like to represent doctors, nurses and physiologists based in non-tertiary centres to highlight the skills and expertise that exists in these hospitals. This includes promoting the option of local complex device follow up. I think there is a role for follow up of complex devices in local centres with trained/accredited doctors, nurses and physiologists which is a strong patient preference. For many centres this will require governance arrangements with tertiary centres to offer support and 7-day cover and home monitoring. I don’t think this process should be onerous to set up and the commissioning process should support this process.
I think it’s also important for the society to acknowledge that complex device patients present to local hospitals with acute problems. This includes heart failure decompensation and ICD therapy that require urgent assessment and for in-patient tests when devices may require reprogramming. The majority of this work is performed in local centres and only patients who require an urgent system revision or EP assessment for an incessant arrhythmia are fast tracked for transfer to tertiary centres. The role of device follow up is therefore more diverse than the routine clinic visit hence the important of accredited specialists in local centres to support complex device patients.

Physiologists

Claire O’Neill

I am a Chief Cardiac Physiologist working at the Barts Heart Centre London, specialising in Cardiac Rhythm Management and Electrophysiology. I hold IBHRE devices accreditation and am currently awaiting the results of the BHRS Electrophysiology logbook, after successfully passing the exam in March 2018.
I have previously been involved in, the teaching and delivery of the specialist cardiology training for the Practitioner Training Program Healthcare Science degree at Manchester Metropolitan University. Within this role I have also been heavily involved in CRM training for students and junior colleagues. I have a huge passion for training and education and I am a major enthusiast for the development of trainees and the physiology workforce. My aspiration is to see BHRS have a role in the creation and implementation of extended roles for Cardiac Physiologists within the NHS. The continuing professional development of staff is an area I feel BHRS could have a large role in. I would like to be involved with BHRS, to create and run courses to allow the continual professional development of physiologists within CRM. This is something I feel is important to staff retention within entire physiology workforce.
I have contributed to the BHRS EGM challenge on numerous occasions, which for me is the perfect combination of both of my two passions – Cardiac Rhythm Management and Education. I would like to help extend and enhance further, the BHRS profile on social media, to further increase membership and as a way to share best practice within the physiology community.

Daniel Newcomb

I have been a Physiologist for 15yrs, working across a range of hospitals from DGH’s to tertiary centres with varied roles including Arrhythmia Care Co-ordinator and clinical leadership positions within CRM. This makes me well placed to advise on policies which affect both small and large departments and represent those performing non-standard roles. If elected, I would like to help shape the future of workforce planning as the low number of trainees remains the greatest threat to our profession. Working in a centre with close links to a university providing the BSc in Healthcare Sciences, makes me well placed to do this. As a keen researcher with published abstracts, I would like to enhance the use of social media to provide better connectivity to our members by highlighting examples of best practice and innovative research. It is also a great platform to provide better links with organisations such as ESC & HRS, where new guidelines can be disseminated to a wider audience and debated nationally in an open forum. Individuals will feel more value from their membership from added engagement by the society. With the imminent expiration of many members accreditation, I would like to work towards an improved accreditation process for first timers and renewals. I would strive to make BHRS certification the gold standard within the UK, and look at the possibility of departmental accreditation. This will all ensure the society continues to prosper, improves its membership level and enhance the level of care provided to our patients.

Holly Daw

Having joined the BHRS Council as a Physiologist representative in 2016, I am keen to continue in this role, working towards improved care for our patients and as an advocate for arrhythmia Physiologists across Britain as we all strive to improve personally, as teams, as organisations, as a profession and as a healthcare service. This is an exciting time for Physiologists as we begin to truly embrace our professional standing as scientists. With more and more of us undertaking advanced practice, independent research and higher degrees this is a time when representation at national level is paramount, and BHRS must continue to represent and support its Physiologist members from all personal and professional backgrounds. I started my career working in a small department with just 2 colleagues and now work as part of the largest physiology team in Europe. I am grateful for the range of experiences this has allowed me and feel passionately that BHRS and BHRS Council are here to speak for all Physiologists working in arrhythmia, whatever their situation. During my time on council I have authored several documents on issues such as safety, position statements and training materials and have represented BHRS at meetings with organisations such as the Academy of Healthcare Science, The School of Healthcare Science and the United Kingdom Accreditation Service. I have presented and chaired sessions at HRC and am a member of the BHRS Exam writing committee.

Ian Wright

I have been involved in EP and CRM at Imperial for over 20 years, supporting teaching, training, research and innovation. I have taught the EP for Enthusiasts course for over a decade, which allows me to share my love of EP with a new generation of physiologists.
Over our three years together, the current BHRS council has continued to develop a positive and inclusive culture, reflected in the landmark change in constitution to allow for a non-physician president. Collaboration – across speciality, professional and organisational boundaries is the key to meeting the challenges of an ageing population, and the growing epidemic of long-term chronic disease – we have to do things differently – through personalised, integrated care, enabled and supported by technology.
There is a growing evidence base that device data such as patient activity can predict heart failure decompensation, identify frailty, and even the success of pain management. We are increasingly able to detect changes that predict hospital admission or death – the question is – how do we change the outcomes? For me this will be the unfolding story of the next few years, and I would love to remain on council to help to drive this transformation.
I am registered as a clinical scientist, and have just completed the first year of Higher Specialist Scientific Training (HSST). Studying for the Doctor of Clinical Science has given me new perspectives to bring to the council, and insight into the possibilities for advanced practice and consultant clinical scientist roles.

Jason Collinson

I have been a BHRS council member for the last three years and would like to continue on council to contribute to the running and development of the society.
During my tenure I have influenced and contributed to BHRS standards, have produced member communication updates, developed social media use and promoted society progress with talks at HRC. For the last 18 months I have led a project to update and modernise the BHRS website which was recently re-launched on a new, secure, user-friendly platform with automated subscriptions.
Having worked hard to update content, provide members opportunities to share documents, education and experiences I would like the opportunity to see the project through, by further developing the site to be a place members use regularly to network, use as a resource to further knowledge and keep up to date with society business. A long-term aim would be to work towards development of BHRS app which would make access to materials even faster.
My aspirations for the society would be to see the society lead on developing a national quality framework for departments providing a patient centred programme to aid quality assurance and continuous service improvement similar to that developed by the BSE.
I would also like the society to have greater involvement with the healthcare science curriculum and be more active in the development of clinical scientist and advanced practice roles.

John Gierula

Heart rhythm management is changing, data from the recent National Audit of Cardiac Rhythm Management show that device implant rates are increasing and that more complex electrophysiology procedures are being performed. A greater understanding of cardiovascular risk factors and the underlying pathophysiology of cardiovascular disease has driven innovation in diagnostic techniques and treatment, which has dramatically changed the landscape of heart disease. Improvements in mortality rates and changes in mode of death have contributed to an epidemic of heart failure, paradoxically placing more strain on our heart rhythm management services.
My vision for the BHRS is that we drive change in national practice to meet this demand. As a specialist in device management I am one of a handful of cardiac physiologists with a PhD in improving pathways for cardiac device management. A cardiac physiologist is often the only medical professional a patient with a cardiac device will see, and my work has shown that careful attention to details can improve outcomes for patients. A stratified approach to heart rhythm management is needed to direct resources to where they are most needed. As devices technology becomes more innovative, reliable and automated I believe device following up is becoming less of a technical procedure and should be more focused on the clinical management of patients. As part of the multi-disciplinary BHRS council, I believe I have the enthusiasm, experience and knowledge to help drive these changes further.

Maria Paton

Great leadership drives positive change. Cardiac science is growing in exposure and opportunities which have been shaped by recent leaders at NHS England. During the next 3 years we will further demonstrate the vital need and contributions of cardiac scientists in cardiac rhythm management (CRM) services in the UK, particularly in light of evolving technology. I am driven to be part of the construction of the future of our workforce, which we can ensure the BHRS is and influential partner in, to develop an environment where we have routine integration of CRM services in holistic clinics using innovative methods and multidisciplinary teams.
I believe through the BHRS we can create a culture where CRM colleagues from all professions are encouraged to develop and feel enthuses and inspired to take on new challenges, for example by advocating advanced roles and novel strategies within CRM services. I strongly believe this is how we achieve healthcare excellence for our patients but also benefit of our colleagues.
Given the opportunity, I hope to contribute to the BHRS being at the heart of facilitating professional networking, promoting colleagues work, stimulating discussions, highlighting funding sources and professional opportunities in CRM. By building these relationships and reputation of achieving systemic and robust improvements through national guidelines and engagement we can raise the international profile of incredible CRM services in the CRM.

Mark Squirrell

I am a Clinical Scientist / Cardiac Physiologist working in cardiac rhythm management for over 30 years undertaking my NASPE (now IBHRE) exams in devices and EP in the 1990s setting a benchmark at the time for physiologists gaining professional exams in the area. I have been a member of BPEG / HRUK / BHRS for over 20 years contributing to the exam writing process, log book assessment as well as HRC abstract marking and teaching on exam preparation courses. My passion is workforce and my vision is for a well-resourced, accredited service, professionally regulated and accountable to our patients. The service I manage has been at the forefront of both the Scientist Training Programme and High Specialist Scientist Training. I have been leading on STP exam writing in cardiac science as well as contributing to curriculum development. These programmes have been beneficial in the training and recruitment of a small number of physiologists but as a profession we need to develop processes that will train larger numbers of specialists in CRM and provide a platform for future registration as Clinical Scientists with HCPC. We need to develop our existing links with the Academy for Healthcare Science, the National School of Healthcare Science as well as the Chief Scientific Officers team and the wider healthcare science community. By doing this we will ensure we are well represented in national projects such as advanced clinical practice, apprentice programmes at level 7 and the accreditation of services with IQIPS.

Parisha Khan

I have been a qualified physiologist since 2012 and am currently the Principal Cardiac Physiologist for CRM at Kings College Hospital, London, having previously worked at St George’s Hospital.
I am standing for election as a council representative as I believe I can make a positive contribution towards delivering improved patient care through shared practice and advanced training initiatives. I am enthusiastic about continuous professional development and have been instrumental in setting up advanced CRM training days for physiologists. These well-received events have included like CRT implants, talks and case studies, but the key has been that most of the training is for physiologists, by physiologists.
I believe that BHRS has an important role to play in the standardisation of physiologist training for CRM and EP. I would like to utilise the vast network of multidisciplinary professionals within the council to ser up national physiologist study days which could offer CDP points towards maintaining BHRS accreditation. I hope these study days would offer physiologists from varied levels of experience an opportunity to learn about advanced practice.
Within my own department, I advocate a multidisciplinary approach to patient care in order to ensure appropriate intervention for device patients through standardised referral pathways. I organize weekly multidisciplinary CRM meetings as we as a bi-annual meeting for the teams of local and visiting CRM implanters to discuss guidelines and new technology. I would like to translate these practices to a national level through the council and contribute towards standardising patient care policies.

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