National Clinical Director for Diabetes 2008-2013
Course: MBChB, Medicine, 1974
Rowan may be of interest to Medical or Nursing students, or those with an interest in diabetes or careers in health.
Dr Rowan Hillson graduated from Birmingham Medical School in 1974. It was to prove the beginning of an exceptional career in health which has seen her practice in Birmingham, Liverpool and Oxford before joining Hillingdon Hospital in 1989. Remarkably, Dr Hillson manages to combine her keen interest in clinical practice, training and development, and research with writing and she has published a number of books on diabetes and other subjects.
It is Dr Hillson’s pioneering work with people who have diabetes that has gained her the most international recognition and acclaim – work which began over 30 years ago as a junior registrar. As a senior registrar, she pioneered Outward Bound courses for people with diabetes. In 1989 she established the diabetes team in Hillingdon and led the project to develop the Hillingdon Diabetes and Endocrine Unit. This centre, named Diabeticare, gained an international reputation and in 1997 Dr Hillson and the team won the national Hospital Doctor Diabetes Team award. In 2006 she was awarded an MBE for contributions to medicine and healthcare. Dr Hillson was a Consultant Physician in diabetes and endocrinology at Hillingdon Hospital until 2012 when she retired from clinical work.
Dr Hillson was appointed National Clinical Director for Diabetes for the Department of Health. As Diabetes Tsar from 2008 to 2013 responsible for 2.6 million patients in England and working with colleagues she helped to increase information about diabetes care nationally, and strove to improve patient safety. She drove improvements in diabetes care in primary care and hospitals, and established the Safe Use of Insulin project – the e-learning course has had over 100,000 registrants. She also works with the Royal College of Physicians, the Association of British Clinical Diabetologists, and The Patients Association, and worked with the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence for many years.
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