Dr Bernard Higgins, a Consultant in respiratory medicine at the Newcastle Hospitals has been named as one of two outstanding winners of the 2020 British Thoracic Society medal.
This annual award acknowledges the recipient’s contribution to their clinical field which has resulted in benefit to patients and inspired their colleagues.
Dr Higgins was awarded the medal for his contribution to the Society over many years in a number of roles including past Chair of the Executive Committee, and more widely for his contribution to respiratory medicine in the UK and internationally, in particular for his leadership and commitment to national asthma Guidelines.
“I’m delighted and feel very privileged to receive this medal,” said Dr Higgins. “One of the beauties of respiratory medicine is the breadth of interest it allows, and if you look at the list of previous medal recipients you will see that the Society, to its great credit, has recognised numerous different ways of working to improve patient care.
“For my part, I have taken huge pleasure in my roles in the Society, in education, and in trying to ensure that good clinical trial evidence impacts on everyday patient care by building it into guidelines. It’s been time consuming, very worthwhile, and could not have happened without support from many other people. I’m grateful to them and, honoured as I am myself to receive this medal, I hope that those colleagues also feel they have some share in it.”
Bernard is a consultant in respiratory medicine at Newcastle Hospitals, with a special interest in lung cancer and asthma.
A member of the Newcastle Severe Asthma service, a founder of the Regional Severe Asthma Network in the North East and Cumbria and a former director of the Northern Respiratory Training Programme.
Dr Higgins led the development of the first BTS/SIGN Asthma guidelines in 2003 and was involved in many subsequent revisions, and was instrumental in the recent agreement for a single national asthma guideline to be developed by BTS/SIGN and NICE.
His interest in guidelines reflects in his current role as Clinical Director of the NICE National Guidelines Committee, for which he worked for many years in the development of several guidelines, both within and beyond respiratory Medicine.
A prolific researcher in severe asthma, Bernard had key roles in several national consortia and trials as principal investigator, publishing consistently for over 30 years in high impact respiratory journals making a significant contribution to evidence-based clinical practice.
More on the BTS Medal
The BTS Medal is awarded annually to a distinguished person who has greatly contributed to respiratory medicine or science. This prestigious award aims to acknowledge the recipient’s leadership in and contribution to clinical and/or scientific work which has resulted in benefit to patients and the inspiration of peers.