Ara Darzi, Baron Darzi of Denham

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Darzi of Denham
Born Ara Warkes Darzi
(1960-05-07) May 7, 1960 (age 55)[1]
Alma mater Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Known for
Notable awards
Spouse Lady Wendy Darzi



Ara Warkes Darzi, Baron Darzi of Denham, KBE PC FRS FMedSci FRCSI FRCS FRCSEd FRCPSG FACS FRCP (born 7 May 1960) is one of the world's leading surgeons at Imperial College London, where he holds the Paul Hamlyn Chair of Surgery, specialising in the field of minimally invasive and robot-assisted surgery, having pioneered many new techniques and technologies.[5][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16]

Personal details[edit]

Darzi was born in Iraq to Armenian parents displaced by the 1915 genocide.[17] He moved to Ireland at the age of 17 to study medicine, after graduating from Baghdad College [18] He studied medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, obtaining the degrees of LRCP&SI MB BCh BAO in 1984, and subsequently obtained the postgraduate degree of MD at Trinity College, Dublin. He has become strongly identified with reform of the National Health Service (NHS)[6][7] in England and is recognized internationally as an advocate for applying innovative reforms to health systems globally.

He moved to the UK from Ireland in 1990 to further his career in surgery. In 1991 he was appointed as a consultant surgeon at Central Middlesex Hospital at the age of 31 and then moved to St. Mary's Hospital in 1994. In 2002 He was awarded a knighthood for his services to medicine and surgery and subsequently elevated to the peerage in 2007.[16] He was appointed to Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council in June 2009.

He is married to Wendy with whom he has two children, Freddie and Nina.

Medical career[edit]

Darzi joined Imperial College London in 1994, obtained his Professorship in 1996 and became the Chair of Surgery and Head of Department in 1998. Darzi holds the Paul Hamlyn Chair of Surgery at Imperial College London and the Institute of Cancer Research. He is also an honorary consultant surgeon at St Mary's Hospital, and the Royal Marsden Hospital. He has held many senior administrative appointments within the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College, Research Council, Editorial Board of Scientific Journals, and medical royal colleges.

Darzi was educated in Ireland, awarded an MD from Trinity College Dublin and the Fellowships of essentially all the Royal Colleges of Surgeons in the British Isles (Ireland FRCSI, England FRCS, and both Scottish Colleges FRCSEd, FRCPSG). He also holds the Fellowship of the American College of Surgeons and has been elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and more recently a Foreign Associate of the Institute of Medicine. From 2005 to 2008 he was president of Bath Institute of Medical Engineering (BIME). In December 2008 he received an Honorary degree (Doctor of Engineering) from the University of Bath. In 2010 he was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, and an Honorary Fellow of the National Institute of Clinical Excellence.

Darzi's main clinical and academic interest is in minimally invasive surgery and allied technologies in which he and his team are internationally recognized. He leads a team of researchers covering a wide spectrum of engineering and basic sciences research topics including Medical Image Computing, Biomedical Engineering, Clinical Safety, surgical education and training at post-graduate and undergraduate levels and Robotics. He has published more than 800 peer review papers[19] and authored, co-authored or edited several books.[9][10][12][13]

This work has received international recognition including the Queens Anniversary Prize for Excellence in Higher and further education 2001,[20] Hamdan Award for Medical Research Excellence in 2004.[21] In 2006 Darzi and his department were awarded the highly prestigious Rector’s Research Excellence Award for their work on Surgical Robots. He has also delivered many prestigious and named lectures around the globe.

On 2 May 2013 Lord Darzi was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society, one of the world's oldest self-governing Fellowships, established in 1660, with membership made up of the world’s most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering, and medicine.[22]

Darzi is an enthusiastic advocate of Patient record access arguing that interested patients and carers, especially those accustomed to self-management of their condition, should take the lead in creating apps and other means of accessing records that are customised to the needs of patient groups.[23]

Political career[edit]

In December 2006 NHS London asked Darzi to "develop a strategy to meet Londoners' health needs over the next five to ten years" and so his report Healthcare for London: A Framework for Action was published on 11 July 2007.[24] Largely implemented, it recommended the development of academic health science centres and the introduction of more primary services in one place: polyclinics. The plan for moving care from hospitals to GP-led polyclinics was largely thwarted by GP opposition, but his call for trauma, acute stroke and heart attack services to be centralised in specialist units succeeded and has been widely copied.[25]

On 29 June 2007 Darzi was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department of Health in the House of Lords at the Department of Health by the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. He was duly raised to the peerage on 12 July 2007 as Baron Darzi of Denham, of Gerrards Cross in the County of Buckinghamshire. His appointment was a small part of a political shift by government to incorporate more talents, see historical predecessors such as the Ministry of All the Talents.[26]

Darzi was tasked with leading a national review to plan the course of the NHS over a decade, reporting back to the Prime Minister, Chancellor, and Secretary of State for Health in June 2008. He cooperated with the Department of Health to undertake the “NHS Next Stage Review”.[6]

Darzi was quoted in The Times as saying that “...This Review should be both clinically-led and evidence-based”. The final report of the Review, High Quality Care for All, was published in June 2008 to considerable public and academic acclaim. The Financial Times stated that it was “the world’s most ambitious attempt to raise the quality and effectiveness of an entire nation’s healthcare”.[27] The Lancet acknowledged that:

"Darzi has wisely thrown out regulation as the organising principle of the NHS. He has replaced it with quality...This cultural shift is a radical re-visioning of purpose for the NHS—away from the political command and control of processes and towards professional responsibility for clinical outcomes"[28]

Through High Quality Care for All, academics suggested that Darzi has updated traditional notions of professionalism and described a new accountability in clinical practice. Following publication, Darzi remained in his ministerial post. He was associated with the plan to develop Polyclinics in England. At that time a Department for Health spokesperson was quoted as saying that his revised role would “...ensure the successful implementation of the Review’s conclusions. Notably, frontline clinical staff will be given more control over budgets, and his proposals will mean that every provider of NHS services will be required to publish Quality Accounts from April 2010”. The plan for moving care from hospitals to GP-led polyclinics was largely thwarted by GP opposition, but his call for trauma, acute stroke and heart attack services to be centralised in specialist units was seen as successful and was widely copied.[29]

As a government minister, Darzi found himself responsible for leading the passage of health-related legislation through the Lords.

Darzi’s leadership as a health minister was the culmination of many years of involvement in health policy. Immediately prior to joining the government, Darzi led a review of health services in London, identifying the opportunities to raise clinical quality across the capital.[24] He was also National Advisor in Surgery to the Department of Health. Darzi’s report in this role ‘Saws and Scalpels to Lasers and Robots: Clinical case for change’ (April 2007), argued for a change to the way surgery is organised to maximise patient benefits.[30]

In June 2009 Darzi was appointed as a member of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council[31] and in November 2010, under David Cameron, became a United Kingdom Global Ambassador for Health and Life Sciences; a role he continued until 2012.[32]

In July 2009, Darzi relinquished his post as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State. The Prime Minister praised his “outstanding contribution”.[33] and The Guardian said that:

"Instead of waging war on the medics, as his Blairite predecessors had done, Darzi invited them to take a hand in designing their own targets and bound them into reform. He stressed the quality of care after Labour's decade-long obsession with quantity. And while the drive for private involvement continued, it took a less dogmatic turn. The NHS's morale improved, as did its public standing."[34]

In September 2013, Lord Darzi was appointed by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson to lead a review of health and wellbeing and services in London. The London Health Commission which reported in October 2014 proposed the toughest measures seen in the UK to tackle the “obesity emergency” that leaves one in three 10-year-olds overweight or obese including Ofsted-style ratings highlighting the best and worst schools at promoting healthy eating, and requiring chain restaurants to include “traffic light” calorie warnings on menus. He called for the Mayor to rewrite the London Plan to give borough councils greater protecting in banning takeaways from within 400m of the school gates.[35]

In January 2014 Professor Darzi was awarded the Qatari sash of Independence by HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in recognition of his contribution to the development of Qatar's health sector.

Global Health and Innovation[edit]

After July 2009, Lord Darzi returned to his clinical and academic work and has expanded his involvement in global health issues. In June 2010 he was appointed Chairman of the Institute for Global Health Innovation at Imperial College, a body dedicated to improving healthcare around the world and reducing health inequalities in developed and developing countries. In 2012 the Institute of Global Health Innovation (IGHI) hosted the inaugural Global Health Policy Summit in London, during the London 2012 Olympic Games. This event brought together global healthcare leaders, academics and industry to debate key topics on global health and included a keynote address by Prime Minister David Cameron.

In 2013, Lord Darzi hosted the World Innovation Summit for Health in Doha, Qatar, under the Patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser al Missned and Qatar Foundation. This international event attracted over one thousand delegates from industry, academic and the healthcare sector and world-renowned political and royal figures including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma, His Royal Highness The Duke of York, Princess Lalla Salma of Morocco, HRH Princess Ghida Talal of Jordan and HRH Princess Dina Mired of Jordan.

Awards and honours[edit]

Darzi was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2013. His nomination reads


  1. ^ "DARZI OF DENHAM". Who's Who 2013, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2013; online edn, Oxford University Press. (subscription required)
  2. ^ Davies, P. (2010). "Darzi centres: An expensive luxury the UK can no longer afford?". BMJ 341: c6287. doi:10.1136/bmj.c6287. PMID 21059729. 
  3. ^ Nduka, C. C.; Monson, J. R. T.; Menzies-Gow, N.; Darzi, A. (1994). "Abdominal wall metastases following laparoscopy". British Journal of Surgery 81 (5): 648–652. doi:10.1002/bjs.1800810506. PMID 8044537. 
  4. ^ Taffinder, N. J.; McManus, I. C.; Gul, Y.; Russell, R. C. G.; Darzi, A. (1998). "Effect of sleep deprivation on surgeons' dexterity on laparoscopy simulator". The Lancet 352 (9135): 1191. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(98)00034-8. 
  5. ^ a b Aziz, O.; Constantinides, V.; Tekkis, P. P.; Athanasiou, T.; Purkayastha, S.; Paraskeva, P.; Darzi, A. W.; Heriot, A. G. (2006). "Laparoscopic Versus Open Surgery for Rectal Cancer: A Meta-Analysis". Annals of Surgical Oncology 13 (3): 413–424. doi:10.1245/ASO.2006.05.045. PMID 16450220. 
  6. ^ a b c High Quality Care for All: Nhs Next Stage Review Final Report by Lord Darzi: Command Paper 7432 (Cm.). Stationery Office Books (TSO). 2008. ISBN 0-10-174322-X. 
  7. ^ a b Boseley, S. (2009). "Ara Darzi: An innovative surgeon who led reforms of UK's NHS". The Lancet 374 (9695): 1057. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(09)61691-3. 
  8. ^ Moorthy, K.; Munz, Y.; Sarker, S. K.; Darzi, A. (2003). "Objective assessment of technical skills in surgery". BMJ 327 (7422): 1032–1037. doi:10.1136/bmj.327.7422.1032. PMC 261663. PMID 14593041. 
  9. ^ a b Alfred Cuschieri; Grace Pierrce; Ara Darzi; Borley, Neil R.; Rowley, David T. (2003). Clinical surgery. Oxford: Blackwell Science. ISBN 0-632-06394-7. 
  10. ^ a b Ara Darzi; Thanos Athanasiou; Debas, Haile T. (2010). Key Topics in Surgical Research and Methodology. Berlin: Springer. ISBN 3-540-71914-8. 
  11. ^ Thanos Athanasiou; Ara Darzi (2011). Evidence Synthesis in Healthcare: A Practical Handbook for Clinicians. Berlin: Springer. ISBN 0-85729-175-0. 
  12. ^ a b Ara Darzi (1996). Retroperitoneoscopy. Informa Healthcare. ISBN 1-899066-29-2. 
  13. ^ a b Nduka, Charles; Ara Darzi; Talamini, Mark A.; Dunn, David (1997). Atlas of laparoscopic surgical technique. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders. ISBN 0-7020-2011-7. 
  14. ^ List of publications from Microsoft Academic Search
  15. ^ Interview with Lord Ara Darzi by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) on YouTube
  16. ^ a b Hawkes, N. (2009). "Ara Darzi resigns as health minister but remains government adviser". BMJ 339: b2898. doi:10.1136/bmj.b2898. 
  17. ^ Professor Patrick Chinnery. "Citation for award of the degree of Honorary Doctor of Medicine to Lord Ara Darzi by Newcastle University" (PDF). 
  18. ^, Ara Darzi: Desert Island Discs Castaway, first broadcast on 22 June 2008
  19. ^ Ara Darzi in Google Scholar
  20. ^ Royal Anniversary Trust
  21. ^ Hamdan Award for Medical Research Excellence, awarded by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences, Dubai, United Arab Emirates ]]]
  22. ^
  23. ^ Darzi, Ara (13 November 2014). "Only patients can unlock the potential of electronic records". Health Service Journal. Retrieved 30 November 2014. 
  24. ^ a b
  25. ^ "Can Lord Darzi’s plan improve Londoners’ health?". Guardian. 16 October 2014. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  26. ^
  27. ^ NHS plans to raise quality of care -
  28. ^ Horton, R. (2008). "The Darzi vision: Quality, engagement, and professionalism". The Lancet 372 (9632): 3–6. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(08)60963-0. 
  29. ^ "Can Lord Darzi’s plan improve Londoners’ health?". Guardian. 16 October 2014. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  30. ^ Saws and scalpels to lasers and robots advances in surgery : Department of Health - Publications
  31. ^
  32. ^ PM announces new Business Ambassadors Number 10
  33. ^ Lord Darzi resigns: full text of letters exchanged with Gordon Brown - Telegraph
  34. ^ In praise of ... Ara Darzi | Editorial | Comment is free | The Guardian
  35. ^ "Fast-food takeaways could be banned from opening near schools as Mayor tackles child 'obesity emergency'". Evening Standard. 13 October 2014. Retrieved 11 November 2014. 
  36. ^

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