Michael Adrian Richards

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Sir Michael Richards speaking at the NCRI National Cancer Conference in 2014.

Professor Sir Michael Adrian Richards, CBE, MD, DSc (Hon), FRCP (born 14 July 1951) is a British oncologist. From 1999 to 2013 he was the National Cancer Director in the UK Government's Department of Health.[1] He was appointed to be the Chief Inspector of Hospitals in the Care Quality Commission on 31 May 2013.[2] and was said by the Health Service Journal to be the third most powerful person in the English NHS in December 2013.[3]


Richards attended the Dragon School in Oxford,[4] and Radley College.[5]


Richards is a cancer specialist.[6][7] He was an Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) research fellow in medical oncology at St Bartholomew's Hospital in London (1982–86), and then an oncology consultant at Guy's Hospital in London (1986–95), becoming a Reader in 1991.[8] He was clinical director of Cancer Services at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital in London (1991–99) and Sainsbury Professor of Palliative Medicine at St Thomas' Hospital from 1995. He was head of the Academic Division of Oncology at King's College London from 1998–99 and chair of the National Cancer Research Institute from 2006–08.[9]

He became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (FRCP) in 1993, Fellow of the Royal College of Radiologists (FRCR) in 2000, and Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health (FFPHM, now FFPH) in 2002.[8] He has been a trustee of the Science Museum in London and Marie Curie Cancer Care.[citation needed]

When interviewed about inspecting hospitals by The Independent in January 2014 he said "We have seen variation. There is variation between the best hospitals we’ve seen and the ones that are struggling… What is interesting is that within an individual hospital there is variation. The maternity service might be very good but the A&E service might require improvement."[10]

In January 2017 he announced that he intended to retire from his role as Chief Inspector of Hospitals in the summer.[11]

Awards and honours[edit]

He received his CBE in 2001 and his knighthood in 2010. In 2014 he received a Cancer Research UK Lifetime Achievement Award.


  1. ^ "Professor Sir Mike Richards CBE MD FRCP DSc(Hon) National Clinical Director for Cancer and End of Life Care". dh.gov.uk. Department of Health, UK Government. 24 January 2011. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  2. ^ Michael, Richards (31 May 2013). "Professor Sir Mike Richards will be the new Chief Inspector of Hospitals" (Press release). Care Quality Commission. Retrieved 15 August 2016. 
  3. ^ "HSJ100 2013 The annual list of the most influential people in health". Health Service Journal. 11 December 2013. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  4. ^ "OD News". The OD. Dragon School. 1: 22. 2011. 
  5. ^ "The Old Radleian" (PDF). Radley College. 2003. Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  6. ^ Kingsley, Madeleine. "Professor Mike Richards: Failure is not an option". canceractive.com. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  7. ^ Potts, Judith (23 December 2010). "'Differences in treatment' are causing low cancer survival rates in Britain. Can Professor Sir Michael Richards explain why?". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  8. ^ a b "Professor Sir Michael Richards, CBE". Debretts.com. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  9. ^ https://healthcaretimes.co.uk/professor-sir-mike-richards-announces-retirement/
  10. ^ "Sir Mike Richards on inspecting hospitals and the NHS: ‘I’ve seen a huge amount of very good care’ says 'whistleblower-in-chief'". The Independent. 5 January 2014. Retrieved 12 April 2016. 
  11. ^ https://healthcaretimes.co.uk/professor-sir-mike-richards-announces-retirement/