Honours for David and Ken’s great work

Professor David Jones. Picture by John Millard.
Professor David Jones. Picture by John Millard.

Two men from Northumberland have spoken of how honoured they are to be on the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2018.

Professor David Jones is Dean of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) for trainees and he has three nationally-leading roles in research, NHS clinical service and training.

Ken Bremner. Picture by Jim Varney.

Ken Bremner. Picture by Jim Varney.

The 54-year-old, who has been awarded an OBE for services to liver disease and training, is also Professor of Liver Immunology at Newcastle University.

His work includes running the UK’s largest clinical service for autoimmune liver disease. He has been working in Newcastle since 1988.

Prof Jones started specialising in liver medicine in 1991 and became a consultant in 1999, benefiting from fellowships funding by the Medical Research Council.

He moved to Northumberland in 2002 and lives in Ingoe with his wife Vanessa and their children Matthew, 13, and Thomas, 10.

“It was a complete surprise,” he said.

“Vanessa opened the letter and as some of the things I do involve the Government, we weren’t sure what it could be, but it never crossed my mind that it would be an invitation to accept an OBE.

“You do your job for the right reasons and don’t think about such rewards, but I have to say it’s a great honour to be recognised for my work.”

He is part of a team carrying out important work in CRESTA clinics that are led and managed by the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and bring in expertise from Newcastle University and are supported by the NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre.

Prof Jones said that an important breakthrough came last year when the first new drug in 20 years for a progressive liver disease, in this case primary biliary cholangitis (PBC), was approved for NHS use.

“What’s even better is that even though it is a US company, the drug is being manufactured at Piramal in Morpeth,” he added.

“Another important aspect of our work is researching how we can look after patients better and patient support group LIVErNORTH is invaluable in helping us with this work.”

Newcastle University developed an academy system and this is being taken on by Prof Jones at a national level with NIHR.

Ken Bremner, of Darras Hall, Ponteland, has devoted his entire 36-year career to the NHS. He receives a MBE for services to NHS Leadership.

He became chief executive of City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust in 2004 and became CEO of South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust in 2016.

Some of his key achievements in Sunderland have included the opening of a new state-of-the-art emergency care department, which is one of the first in the country to be completely paper-free at the point of care, and being instrumental in the founding of a School of Nursing at the University of Sunderland in 2016.

Mr Bremner said: “I am extremely humbled and delighted to receive such an honour.

“I am very proud to work in the NHS and would like to thank all those colleagues who have guided and supported me with their wise council and expertise throughout the years.”