We use cookies to track usage and optimise user experience. By continuing to browse and use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Sir Michael Richards CBE Backs ‘Bucket List’ Campaign

« View all Press Releases
01 May 2014

Whilst being honoured by Britain’s oldest and largest surgical Royal College, renowned oncologist and ‘Cancer Tsar’ Sir Michael Richards CBE took time to hail the efforts of terminally-ill teenager Stephen Sutton as ‘phenomenal’. As he received an honorary Fellowship; the highest degree of membership by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (www.rcsed.ac.uk); the former National Cancer Director for the Department of Health lauded the youth’s ‘amazing job’ at raising awareness and the largest-ever amount of money donated to the Teenage Cancer Trust, a charity he has worked with personally for over 15 years.

Dubbed by the media as ‘Whistleblower-in-Chief’, Sir Michael received the award last Friday (25 March) evening at a diploma ceremony alongside a host of international surgeons, in recognition of the contribution he has made to cancer research and improving care and outcomes for patients. He commented on recent news regarding the 19 year-old’s ‘bucket list’ campaign, which involved performing a series of activities such as getting a tattoo, crowd surfing, busking and skydiving;

“Stephen Sutton has done a phenomenal job raising an amazing amount of money for a really great charity. I’ve worked with the Teenage Cancer Trust for over 15 years and have the highest regard for the organisation’s efforts in helping drive forward better funded care that makes a difference; such as specialist units and nurses.”

Commenting on his new role as Chief Inspector at the Care Quality Commission, where he seeks to achieve consistency across hospitals, he added;

“The last 9 months have been exciting for me, but I have been shocked to discover the wide, unacceptable variations in care between hospitals in England. Up until now the largest obstacle to achieving consistency had been the lack of clarity in the picture; what is going wrong and most importantly what is being done right. I’m pleased we have been launching new and effective inspection programmes, recruiting clinical experts, carers and patients – people we call ‘experts by experience’ – which enable us to gather a great deal of information very quickly. Above all, we are searching for good and outstanding practice that we can replicate across the board.”

According to RCSEd Honorary Secretary and Consultant Breast Surgeon Professor Graham Layer;

“Professor Sir Michael Richards CBE is well-known to all surgeons working in the field of cancer care as for many years he was known as the Government’s first ‘Cancer Tsar’. In his role as the Government’s National Cancer Director, he oversaw the introduction of many modern cancer reforms, including networks; peer review; multi-disciplinary team meetings; and the two-week wait – processes which were designed to speed the referral of patients suspected of having cancer for specialist assessment and, by doing so, improving their outcome.

On behalf of the surgical community, RCSEd is pleased to present Professor Sir Michael with an Honorary Fellowship in acknowledgment of the remarkable accomplishments he has achieved in his career and for the significant contribution he has made within the field of oncology.”

Professor Sir Michael Richards CBE said:

“I am deeply grateful to The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh for honouring me through this Fellowship, particularly as I am not a surgeon! However, throughout my career I have worked closely with surgeons and I appreciate their vital role in modern health care, both for cancer and for other conditions.”

The President of the RCSEd, Mr Ian Ritchie said:

“The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh has a long history of innovation and Professor Sir Michael Richards CBE’s work exemplifies this quality. I take great pleasure in presenting this Fellowship to mark the outstanding contribution he has made to medicine and surgery.”

In a medical career spanning over three decades, Professor Sir Michael Richards CBE has held a number of senior positions in the field of cancer, from research and honorary consultant roles, to having held the position of Clinical Director of Cancer Services at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, London (1991-1999); Chair of the National Cancer Research Institute (2006-2008); as well as holding his current position as Sainsbury Professor of Palliative Medicine at St Thomas’ Hospital London (1995 to present). In 2001, he received his CBE and in 2010 he received a Knighthood for services to medicine.

Established in 1505, and with a worldwide membership, the RCSEd is one of the world’s oldest and largest surgical establishments dedicated to the pursuit of excellence and advancement in surgical and dental practice, through its activities in education, training and examinations.


About The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh

RCSEd was first incorporated as the Barber Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1505, and is the oldest surgical corporation in the world with memberships approaching 25,000 professionals in over 100 countries worldwide. The College promotes the highest standards of surgical and dental practice through its interest in education, training and examinations, its liaison with external medical bodies and representation of the modern surgical and dental workforce. It is also home to the UK’s only Faculty of Surgical Trainers, open to all those with an interest in surgical training regardless of College affiliation. Find RCSEd on Twitter www.twitter.com/RCSEd and on Facebook www.facebook.com/rcsed

The College is based at Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9DW and can be reached on (0)131 527 1600 or mail@rcsed.ac.uk. In March 2014, a new base opened in Birmingham, catering to the 80% of the College’s UK membership who are based in England and Wales.

For all media enquiries please contact the Communications Team on +447467 485145 or email comms@rcsed.ac.uk 


back to top of page