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At the heart of general practice since 1960

50. Dr Matt Kearney

Public health promoter

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National clinical advisor to NHS England and Public Health England, Dr Matt Kearney is a crucial GP voice at the centre of government plans to shift towards a more preventive health service.

This year, Dr Kearney established the primary care CVD leadership forum, comprising more than 30 jobbing GPs as well as nurse and pharmacist colleagues. With the help of PHE the forum has developed ‘intelligence packs’ to help doctors benchmarks data, predict how outcomes will vary, and what questions GPs should be asking about local CVD services.

He also got CVD established as a priority at the RCGP, and found funding there to appoint a lead on the issue for a year.

Dr Kearney says: ‘These risks are real, especially as multimorbidity becomes the norm. But concern about overdiagnosis should not stop us addressing the equally important challenge of late diagnosis and undertreatment.

‘There is substantial evidence of unwarranted variation between practices in how well we detect and manage all the major conditions and risk factors.’

Dr Kearney has spoken out in defence of NICE’s plans to reduce the risk threshold for statin prescribing in the primary prevention of CVD, and of the NHS Health Checks scheme.

‘Do we wait 10 years for perfect evidence or do we do something now and generate evidence as we go? I think that’s just a more pragmatic approach,’ he says.

Next year he plans to develop new resources at the CVD leadership forum for GPs who want to address atrial fibrillation and hypertension. He also plans to improve intelligence in practices on early cancer diagnosis. Watch this space.

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