British Society for Haematology. Listening. Learning. Leading British Society for Haematology. Listening. Learning. Leading
12 June 2018

John James, Chief Executive of the UK’s only national sickle cell charity, has been awarded an OBE for his services to sickle cell disorder and health as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

John has had a long and successful career working for the health and charity sector. Prior to working at the Sickle Cell Society he spent 33 years working within the NHS including four CEO roles and becoming the first Black African-Caribbean Chief Executive in the NHS. John has also held senior management and board level posts in Primary Care Trusts, London teaching Hospitals, and Mental Health Trusts. Further to that he served as a senior civil servant for the Department of Health under Professor Sir Bruce Keogh. On Saturday he was awarded an OBE for his service to sickle cell and health. 

For the last five years, John has been the Chief Executive of the Sickle Cell Society, a national charity dedicated to helping people living with sickle cell reach their full potential. Under his leadership the Society has seen significant growth and achievements. The Society recently beat more than 350 organisations from all over the UK to be one of the eight winners of the 2018 GSK IMPACT Awards, a national award that recognises charities that are doing excellent work to improve people’s health and wellbeing.

Under John’s leadership, the Society has also worked in collaboration with patients and healthcare professionals to publish the 2nd edition of a national set of standards of care for adults living with sickle cell disorder. The standards were recently launched in the Houses of Parliament and aim to continue improvements to care across the UK.

In 2016, the Society worked closely with the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to produce guidelines on blood transfusions that will improve the experience of people with sickle cell disorder by causing less discomfort and improving efficiency. It is estimated that this could save the NHS £13 million per year.

John has previously received a national NHS Leadership award and his dedication to personal development has continued with the Sickle Cell Society’s accreditation against the Investors in People Standard.

Further to his work at the Sickle Cell Society he served on the board of two national Charities as a Trustee and is also a Magistrate.

John James said: “I feel very proud to be receiving this honour and was excited to share this good news with my family, friends and colleagues. I hope that it will help raise the profile of the important work we do as a charity, so that we can continue to support people living with sickle cell disorder and their families.”


The Sickle Cell Society believes that individuals with sickle cell disease have the right to quality care. This can only be achieved if funding is made available to educate health carers and other professionals about the condition. The Society aims to provide this. It has a network of committed volunteers, who play an important part in running the charity, providing administrative backup, and helping with fund-raising activities. The Society works both at an individual level through community projects and by influencing national policy.

More information can be found at www.sicklecellsociety.org

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