BELS Brief Chats Episode #11 – Dr Gillian Leng

At the age of 10 she wanted to be a vet, at 17 a scientist, and at 21 she settled on medicine.  Gillian Leng trained as a doctor at Leeds University, studied peripheral arterial disease in Edinburgh for several years, then worked as a consultant in public health in Bedfordshire.  It’s no surprise that she considers joining NICE in 2001 to be her best career move, initially to set up the clinical guidelines program. Today some 400 guidelines are in place. During the COVID-19 pandemic, NICE rapidly created a suite of “living guidelines”. Now a shift toward such continuous updating is very much the direction of travel. 

Gillian succeeded Sir Andrew Dillon as only the second CEO of NICE, a process-driven organisation which strives to build trust with the public, the health system, and industry.  Regarding the latter, she discusses how NICE and the MHRA are looking to engage with industry much earlier to ensure a better “lit runway”.  She recently decided to retire from NICE after the untimely death last year of her husband, Paul; her initial intent is to finish his book.