By: 23 February 2019
HCML names new chief medical director

Rehabilitation and case management firm HCML has appointed Dr Alex Smallwood as its new chief medical director.

A qualified GP who works part-time in a large urban practice, Smallwood said he will use his experience from shaping healthcare policy and delivery with the British Medical Association (BMA) and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to help HCML design innovative methods to help patients recover from injuries, including acquired brain injury.

He said there are striking parallels between HCML’s case management work to rebuild lives and his work with CCGs that commission NHS health providers to maximise patient-recorded outcomes.

Smallwood said: “Coordinating care for patients with medically complex injuries and accompanying mental health problems means navigating fragmented health care systems for them, and choosing the best and most innovative care options which we keep under continuous scrutiny. We want to get it right for the patient and provide the most return for every pound spent.”

His role is to oversee HCML’s clinical governance and keep clinical standards high through setting higher benchmarks at key points of patients’ treatment cycles.

HCML is also embarking on a “substantial” IT investment that will include systems to capture patient progress and feedback. “We will focus on each patient journey and on stronger and faster outcomes,” said Smallwood.

“We are investing in efficient digital solutions to motivate patients to work on their own recovery with multiple access points and strategies to suit them, such as apps and video links, to ensure patients take the right paths, follow prescribed exercise and self-care methods.”

“We can always improve the way we accelerate recovery and patient journeys, through a culture for robust clinical governance. My training will include a renewed drive for clinical excellence and a shared culture where all staff can say ‘that could be bettered’.”

“HCML is a go-getting, creative enterprise, and it’s expanding. I can make a big difference to the patients and to insurers, solicitors and employers working with us.”

Smallwood has worked in the BMA as chair of the GP training committee, has chaired several national BMA committees, and negotiated national contracts. He also produced the standards documents to improve the mobility and leadership skills of medical graduates within the EU.

He also supported the triage stepped care design and implementation of what was the largest publicly-commissioned musculoskeletal service of its type in the UK.

HCML chief executive officer Keith Bushnell said: “I am delighted to have Alex on board the team. Alex is a senior medical professional, experienced in complex case management and in clinical audit, quality and scrutiny. He has championed efficient working in the NHS, and has a commissioner’s perspective on this. He has an impressive track record in delivering better clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction and staff training.”