David Oliver (doctor)

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David Oliver
Born (1966-01-13) 13 January 1966 (age 57)
Known forPast President of the British Geriatrics Society
Medical career
Fieldgeriatric medicine

David Oliver FRCP is a British physician specialising in the geriatric medicine and acute general internal medicine. He was President of the British Geriatrics Society from 2014 to 2016. He is Visiting Professor of Medicine for Older People in the School of Community and Health Sciences at City University London and a King's Fund Senior Visiting Fellow. He was formerly the UK Department of Health National Clinical Director for Older People's Services from 2009 to 2013. He is a researcher, writer, teacher and lecturer on services for older people and a regular blogger, columnist and media commentator. He was elected as Clinical Vice President of the Royal College of Physicians, London. In April 2022 he was elected as president of the Royal College of Physicians but withdrew in July 2022 after he had contracted Covid 19 and "no longer felt able to do it justice".[1]

Early life and postgraduate clinical training[edit]

He attended a state primary school, Northern Moor and Northenden in Manchester. He then attended Manchester Grammar School[2] before studying medicine at The Queen's College, Oxford and Trinity Hall, Cambridge.[3]

Senior clinical role[edit]

He gained his Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training in (General Internal and Geriatric Medicine) London in 1998. He initially worked in South London then from 2004 he held a General Internal Medicine position in Reading, now part of the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust,[4]

Academic and research activities[edit]

Oliver began his research career whilst a registrar at St Thomas' Hospital in London. He gained his research doctorate from the University of London in 2001. He was a Senior Lecturer in the School of Health and Social care at the University of Reading from 2004 to 2009 alongside his consultant contract at the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust. He has been involved with City University London.[5] He is a visiting professor at the University of Surrey.[6]

National leadership and advisory roles[edit]

Alongside his clinical work Oliver was on secondment to the Department of Health from 2009 to 2013, first as specialist clinical advisor leading the national programme of work on Falls and Bone Health[7] and then as National Clinical Director for Older Peoples Services.[8] In his government role he developed national policies around the care of older people, advised Ministers and officials and provided assistance to other clinicians with their own local services. He stood down to take on his role as BGS President-Elect, when National Clinical Director roles moved from the Department of Health to NHS England.

He became President of the British Geriatrics Society, in November 2014, having been appointed for a 2-year period.[9]

Opinions, media and commentary[edit]

Since July 2015 he has written a weekly freelance column for The BMJ called "Acute Perspective". Oliver has written blogs for the King's Fund,[10] The BMJ website,[11] the British Geriatrics Society and guest blogs for other sites such as the Nuffield Trust. He writes regular opinion pieces for the Health Service Journal and BMJ and others in the national and professional press. He regularly comments on services for older people in print and broadcast media. He has appeared on BBC 1 (The Big Questions, News); BBC News Channel, BBC Radio 4 and 5 and BBC World Service, on Sky News and on numerous local radio stations. He has been quoted in The Independent, The Times, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, Daily Mirror and Daily Mail. He was written for several other outlets in professional and general press.

He is a senior visiting fellow at the King's Fund.[10] In 2014, he was the lead author of the keynote Kings Fund Paper "Making Health and Care Systems fit for an Ageing Population".[12] He was also one of the commissioners for the Health Service Journal "Commission on Hospital Care for Frail Older People".[13] He has campaigned on discrimination against older people [14] in the British National Health Service, against the attitude being that the person is old and there is nothing that can be done about it. He challenges plans for large reductions in older people in acute hospitals,[15] saying it is "absolute la la land to think we’re going to be in a situation any time soon where older people don’t still keep piling through the doors of general hospitals."[16][17] He has also written about the need to focus more on healthy ageing,[18] to make health and care professionals better trained in the care of older people.[19] He has criticised the large NHS spend on management consultancy [20] and pushed the case for NHS staff to learn more from other organisations within the NHS,[21] criticised the idea that more aggressive regulation and inspection and "accountability" can bring about quality improvement in services [22] and attacked contestible but prevalent "groupthink" and oft repeated "factoids" from the health policy "commentariat" [23] and made the case for improving the care for older people in nursing homes rather than pretending no-one will ever need or want to be admitted to one.[24]

Awards and honours[edit]

In 2014, he was named by the Health Service Journal as one of the top 100 Clinical Leaders in England[25] and as one of the top 50 Leaders in Integrated Care.[26]


  1. ^ "David Oliver: My personal pandemic experience is just one of many". British Medical Journal. 20 July 2022. Retrieved 25 July 2022.
  2. ^ Murray, Kate (15 October 2014). "Guardian Society > Interview > David Oliver: Older People are Not A Burden". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  3. ^ Twitter https://twitter.com/mancunianmedic/status/1254494928899579910. Retrieved 5 October 2020. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ "Wards and services: Elderly Care: Hurley Ward". Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  5. ^ "City academics contribute to report on the frail elderly" (Press release). City University London. 19 November 2014. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  6. ^ "School of Health Sciences: People: Visiting staff: Professor David Oliver". University of Surrey. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  7. ^ "Report to the Minister of State for Care Services: Breaking through. Better services for people with Falls and Fractures in England". Age UK and National Osteoporosis Society. February 2012. Archived from the original on 1 August 2014. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  8. ^ "Professor David Oliver, National Clinical Director for Older People". Department of Health (United Kingdom). 8 August 2011. Archived from the original on 4 January 2012.
  9. ^ "About us: Trustees Board and Officers: David Oliver". British Geriatrics Society. 12 June 2014. Archived from the original on 25 December 2014. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  10. ^ a b "Who's who: David Oliver. Visiting Fellow". King's Fund. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  11. ^ "BMJ Blogs. David Oliver". BMJ. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  12. ^ Oliver D, Foot C, Humphries R. Making our health and care systems fit for an ageing population. Kings Fund. March 2014. At http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/making-our-health-and-care-systems-fit-ageing-population
  13. ^ "Health Service Journal/ Serco Commission on Hospital Care for Frail Older People" (PDF). Health Service Journal. November 2014. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  14. ^ Oliver, David (April 2008). "'Acopia' and 'social admission' are not diagnoses :why older people deserve better". Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. 101 (4): 168–174. doi:10.1258/jrsm.2008.080017. PMC 2312388. PMID 18387906.
  15. ^ Oliver, D (2014). "Preventing hospital admission: We need evidence based policy rather than "policy based evidence"". BMJ. 349: g5538. doi:10.1136/bmj.g5538. PMID 25249450. S2CID 206903341.
  16. ^ Calkin, Sarah (11 March 2013). "Ex-older people's tsar criticises out of hospital obsession". Health Service Journal. Retrieved 24 November 2014.(subscription required)
  17. ^ Oliver, D (2014). "David Oliver: Pet hate--privatisation by stealth". BMJ. 349: g6297. doi:10.1136/bmj.g6297. PMID 25338499. S2CID 36286855.
  18. ^ Oliver, David (6 August 2014). "Ageing well. Whose responsibility is it?". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
  19. ^ Oliver, D (2012). "Transforming care for older people in hospital: Physicians must embrace the challenge". Clinical Medicine. 12 (3): 230–234. doi:10.7861/clinmedicine.12-3-230. PMC 4953484. PMID 22783773.
  20. ^ Oliver, D (2014). "Stop wasting taxpayers' money on management consultancy for the NHS". BMJ. 349: g7243. doi:10.1136/bmj.g7243. PMID 25491703. S2CID 44374593.
  21. ^ David Oliver HSJ 28 October 2014. Why no-one is responsible for ensuring best practice in hospitals. At http://www.hsj.co.uk/comment/frail-older-people/why-no-one-is-responsible-for-ensuring-best-practice-in-hospitals/5075988.article
  22. ^ David Oliver. HSJ 15 January 2014 More accountability and regulation could punish the system at http://www.hsj.co.uk/comment/more-accountability-and-regulation-could-punish-the-system/5066958.article
  23. ^ David Oliver. HSJ 5 August 2014 beware false solutions to the NHS challenges. At http://www.hsj.co.uk/comment/beware-the-false-solutions-to-the-nhss-challenges/5073477.article
  24. ^ David Oliver. Kings Fund Blog. Admission to a nursing home can never be a never event. At http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/blog/2014/08/admission-nursing-home-can-never-become-never-event
  25. ^ Trivedi, Shreshtha; Read, Claire (21 October 2014). "Clinical Leaders 2014". Health Service Journal. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  26. ^ Golding, Nick (13 June 2014). "Care Integration Top 50 leaders revealed". Health Service Journal. Retrieved 26 December 2014.