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Professor Sir Michael Rawlins

Professor Sir Michael Rawlins, President of the Royal Society of Medicine from 2012 to 2014, has died.

Professor Roger Kirby, current President of the Royal Society of Medicine, said: “We are so sad to convey the news of the passing of our much loved and respected colleague, Professor Sir Michael Rawlins. A medical hero, amazing academic and fantastic character, his loss will be deeply felt throughout the medical and scientific communities he served during his distinguished career.”

Professor Sir Michael David Rawlins GBE FBPhS FMedSci was a pharmacologist and founding chairman of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (1999 to 2013). Honorary professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and emeritus professor at Newcastle University, he was chair of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency from 2014 to 2020, and chairman of UK Biobank until December 2019.

Sir Michael was knighted in the 1999 Queen’s New Year Honours for services to the improvement of patient protection from the side effects of medicines. In 2017 he was appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire for services to the safety of medicines, healthcare and innovation after more than three decades at the forefront of innovation, development and leadership in the public health sector.

Professor Dame Parveen Kumar, who preceded Sir Michael as RSM President, said: "Sir Mike Rawlins was an inspirational medical leader. A highly intelligent man of great integrity, intellect, warmth, and vision for the future of healthcare.

"When Mr Dobson, the then secretary of state for health, had the idea of starting a National Institute of Clinical Excellence, Mike was instrumental in its success. With skilful chairmanship and critical analysis of data, he got the new concept of ‘clinical and cost effectiveness’ accepted by the public. The astonishing success of NICE led to other countries taking up similar models."

Professor Gillian Leng CBE, Dean of Education at the Royal Society of Medicine and former Chief Executive of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, worked closely with Sir Michael over many years. She said: “Sir Mike Rawlins was a wonderful human being who combined warmth and humanity with a razor-sharp intellect. He had vision, drive and a passion to improve healthcare, always with patients at the centre.  He leaves a huge imprint on the history of medicine. It was a privilege to have worked with him.”

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