Introducing Richard Bird

Hi everyone,

I consider it a great privilege to have been recruited as the new Wellbeing Coordinator for the Somerville Foundation. I’m aware that I have big shoes to fill, since my predecessor, Anne Crump, did such a marvellous job over the past 13 years in the role, for which I think we should be extremely thankful.

As an ACHD patient myself, I hope that I can bring my experience and insight to support congenital heart adults across the country.

Born with Tetralogy of Fallot, my first surgery was in 1967 under the care of Professor Jane Somerville. These days I’m seen by Barts Heart Centre, so I know what it feels like to wait for appointments, go for tests, take the tablets, and talk to the consultants as a patient. Away from all that, I’m married to Gill, with three grown-up children, and I work as a Counsellor in private practice.

In July, I was pleased to co-host our London seminar, ‘Growing older with a heart defect’, held at Imperial College, where Professor Somerville and Dr Kostas Dimopolous (Royal Brompton) joined Rebecca Godden, Beth Greenaway and myself in talking to a highly enthusiastic and interactive audience. Many themes emerged, including the challenges of navigating the NHS, standing up for our rights as patients, and practical ways to focus on our own wellbeing as we get older.

Please do contact me, either via the Helpline, or email to talk about any aspect of your wellbeing connected with congenital heart issues – I would love to hear from you.

Richard Bird