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Professor Varma awarded OBE in recognition of contribution to health in Northern Ireland

17 Jun 2017

Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke is delighted to learn that its Chairman Professor Mahendra Varma has been included in the birthday Honours List.

The award was made in recognition of Professor Varma’s unwavering commitment to improving health and social care in Northern Ireland throughout his distinguished career.

His many achievements have included:

  1. Pioneering the use of clot-busting drugs in the community via a ‘Cardiac Car’ vital in hard to reach rural areas where getting to a hospital was difficult;
  2. The introduction of heart screening in Northern Ireland when he established a ‘Heart Bus’ bringing cardiac screening to the people of County Fermanagh
  3. Pivotal in the restructuring of the health and social care system in the South West and the creation of an Acute modern hospital in Enniskillen.

Professor Varma also advocated the introduction of a new heart valve treatment called TAVI trans-aortic valve implants for the elderly. The use of this treatment was revolutionary in the treatment of older patients who were too frail for open heart surgery.

Commenting on the honour Professor Varma said: “I am delighted to receive this award. I accept it on behalf of myself and my colleagues. I am particularly indebted to the team of nurses who worked with me over more than a 30 year period. All the change and innovation which have been achieved would not have been possible without their unswerving commitment and support.”

Declan Cunnane, Chief Executive of NI Chest Heart and Stroke said Professor Varma was a pioneer in all aspects of his work. He said: “Throughout his career Professor Varma has shown courage and tenacity bringing new treatments, new services and new processes to health and social care, treatments that have directly and indirectly saved thousands of lives. I am delighted that he has received this worthy recognition for his tireless work.”

Professor Varma’s long-standing colleague at the south-western acute hospital, Professor Jim Kelly said: “Professor Varma brought vision, innovation, drive and determination to all his work. Over the decades these qualities have brought great benefits in terms of health to the people of Fermanagh.”