Sir Muir Gray is one of the world’s foremost experts on ageing. He is an Adviser to both NHS England and Public Health England to transform healthcare with the aim of increasing value for both populations and individuals. He was the NHS’s Chief Knowledge Officer and was awarded both a CBE and later a Knighthood for services for the NHS. He has established charities to promote urban walking and an Oxford based Centre for Sustainable Healthcare.
He is a Consultant in Public Health to Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust. In the University of Oxford, he is Visiting Professor in Knowledge Management in the Nuffield Department of Surgery and a Professor in the Department of Primary Care Health Sciences where he is establishing a Centre of Value Based Healthcare. Throughout Sir Muir’s career he has championed the rights of patients to have access to clear and precise health and medical facts as a public health service. This culminated in his delivery of the high profile ‘NHS Choices’ www.nhs.uk, which now has over 40 million visits a month.
Sir Muir has authored 3 dozen books including a series of ‘How to Handbooks’ for example, ‘How `to Get Better Value Healthcare’, ‘How to Build Healthcare Systems’ and ‘How to Create the Right Healthcare Culture’. His medical focus is now ageing and how to cope with it. In addition to his extensive research he has authored a series of bestselling books including: – ‘Sod 70! ‘, one for the younger decade called ‘Sod 60!’, with Claire Parker, and a book called ‘Sod It, Eat Well!’, with Anita Bea. He is now co-authoring a book with Green Goddess Diana Moran encouraging older people to get more active ‘Sod Sitting – Get Moving!’ was published in Spring 2017.
He also developed a local, then national programme of work to promote health in old age, at a time before the implications of population ageing had been recognised. Based on work in Oxford he developed a number of national initiatives, particularly designed to prevent hypothermia, publishing a Fabian Society report on the relationship between housing and poverty and the excess winter deaths, many from hypothermia, that took place in the United Kingdom. As a result of his pioneering work, he w was appointed to the board of the Anchor Housing Association and helped develop their Staying Put campaign to help owner occupiers survive winter. It was during this time he developed the concept of the Fitness Gap, identifying the widening gap between the best possible rate of decline and the actual rate of decline. This ground breaking work was published in the British Medical Journal in 1982 to professional acclaim. Sir Muir edited the first ever book on the science and practice of the prevention of disease and the promotion of health in old age based, called Prevention of Disease in the Elderly. As a proclaimed expert in ageing he launched a number of books to help older people stay healthy and positive e.g. Age Concern’s book on Health in Retirement and Take Care of Your Elderly Relative.
Sir Muir entered the Public Health Service by joining the City of Oxford Health Department in 1972 after qualifying in medicine in Glasgow, the city of his birth. The first phase of his professional career focused on disease prevention and he was a pioneer in developing ‘smoking cessation programmes’ leading the way to today’s successful interventions.
Disease prevention has been at the focus of Sir Muir’s attentions. He introduced and developed all the screening programmes in the NHS – for pregnant women, children, adults and older people. He founded screening programmes for abdominal aortic aneurysm targeting men aged sixty-five plus as well as Colorectal screening programmes for both men and women.
As a key adviser to the NHS and Public Health England, Prof Sir Muir has been advocating ‘walking meetings’ for the past 30 years