British Cycling today announced a series of reforms designed to bolster its medical services for athletes following an independent review conducted by the English Institute of Sport’s (EIS) director of medical services, Dr. Rod Jaques.
Reforms include the introduction of a new role “head of medicine”, the creation of a new rider health function within the medical team, along with the establishment of a Clinical Governance Committee which will report into the British Cycling board.
The overhaul of medical services comes as part of a wider and rapid change across British Cycling under the leadership of new chair Jonathan Browning and a restructured executive team led by new CEO Julie Harrington, including the appointment of Stephen Park as performance director and Michael Chivers as people director.
These changes build on the 39-point action plan response to the draft findings of the independent review of the world class programme and form part of British Cycling’s plan to become a leader among sport’s governing bodies.
Dr. Jaques was commissioned by British Cycling in April 2017 to assess current practices and compliance with professional standards across the medical and physiotherapy team. He was also asked to make recommendations to enhance the team’s governance, structures and performance management. The British Cycling Board has immediately accepted his key recommendations which will now be implemented.
Commenting on the review’s completion, Dr. Jaques said: “I found members I met with from the British Cycling medical team to be competent professionals, working to the best of their abilities within their current structures.
“To ensure that athletes are served in ways that best support performance and allow professionals to develop, the review outlines reforms that will bolster both areas and ensure that British Cycling makes changes to ensure the highest standards of professionalism and care. I am delighted that my recommendations have been immediately accepted.”
Central to the recommendations is the introduction of a head of medicine, a role that would report to the Performance Director. The role will be responsible for the strategy, function and integrity of the British Cycling medical team.
The team itself is to be split into two functions: a medical services section and a rider health section, which would work in the same location and have regular meetings. The rider health section’s remit would focus on optimising bike ergonomics; running research into reducing injury and illness; research into mental health risk mitigation; and rider anti-doping and lifestyle education.
The medical services section would be responsible for athletes’ medical care, medicines management and record keeping with a newly introduced professional code of conduct in place to guide behaviour and clarify expectations.
Stephen Park, British Cycling’s performance director, said: “Dr. Jaques’ recommendations are timely and sensible. I am confident that through their introduction, the standards and practices adopted will enhance athlete care and performance.”
In what is understood to be a first in UK sports governance, a clinical governance committee will be established that will report in to the British Cycling board. This will be comprised of internal British Cycling staff, including the CEO, and external advisors to maintain clinical governance standards in the changing professional environment.
Jonathan Browning, chair of British Cycling’s board, said: “The creation of the clinical governance Committee underlines the importance of having the right people, structures and processes in place so that British Cycling can provide our athletes with best in class medical services. The speed with which we are introducing changes across the organisation is testament to our determination to look to the future and make British Cycling an NGB that is revered around the world as we serve the sport of cycling.”