Clinical Research Office. A partnership between Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Sheffield

OSCCA Staff Profiles

Professor Gary Mills

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Consultant in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine

Honorary Professor of Critical Care Medicine and Perioperative Medicine (Sheffield University)

Research Interests

I am an NHS Consultant in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine based at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (STH). I have been a Consultant since 1997. In 2008 I was also appointed as an Honorary Reader at Sheffield University and then in 2012 promoted to Honorary Professor in Critical Care Medicine and Perioperative Medicine. My clinical time is split between intensive care medicine and hepatobiliary anaesthesia.

My main research interests are respiratory support and ventilation in the perioperative period and on critical care. This includes work on breathlessness, respiratory muscle strength and AI. I have also focussed on the care and outcomes in older people.

My interest in research began as an intercalated degree student, which involved a study of imaging in chronic pain. This produced my first conference presentations and my first peer reviewed paper in the Journal “Pain”. After medical school I progressed in general medicine to registrar level, before entering anaesthesia with the aim of becoming an intensive care consultant. My PhD research was at the Royal Brompton Hospital (Imperial School of Medicine) and Kings College London based around the physiology of the respiratory muscles. 15 of my journal papers from this period of work are quoted and referenced in the 2002 Joint American Thoracic Society (ARS) and European Respiratory Society (ERS) statement on respiratory muscle testing. Am J Respir Crit Care Med Vol 166. pp 518–624, 2002. This work provided the background for my future research, which has predominantly related to respiratory disease and ventilation, particularly in vulnerable groups such as the elderly.

I am a member of the Protective Ventilation (PROVE) Network, the ESA Respiratory Scientific Committee and am UK lead for 6 international (Portfolio) studies, including PROVHILO (published in the Lancet), PROVENT, PROBESE, PROTHOR, AVATAR, PRESPON) and BALANCED (published in the Lancet) and am on the steering committee of the Las Vegas study. I have also been an academic lead for the Sheffield EPAQ-PO preoperative assessment project.

I am currently lead for the study: “Evaluation of the microstructure and functional changes in the lung during recovery after major abdominal surgery, using functional hyperpolarized helium and xenon magnetic resonance imaging.” This is in collaboration with Jim Wild who is NIHR Professor of MR Physics and Radiology. This is a very innovative study, drawing on the very specialised functional MR techniques using helium and xenon that are available in Sheffield and very few centres world-wide.

I am a member of the GAINS and GENOSEPT groups, particularly looking at the epidemiology and outcomes of faecal peritonitis


I have gained 3 EPSRC grants in collaboration with Professors Mahfouf and Linkens at the Dept of Automatic Systems and Control Engineering, Sheffield University. This work was related to intelligent control of mechanical ventilation and prediction of sepsis progression using novel engineering techniques. I have had an NIHR grant with Professor Kang (Dept of Architecture, Sheffield University), looking at noise and its effects on patients and staff on critical care. I led the National Intensive Care Cost Block Program for 6 years, and worked with Prof Jim Wild on Hyperpolarised Helium MR imaging of the lung (conducting the first hyperpolarised helium lung imaging in humans in the UK). I have gained 4 NIAA grants looking at perioperative ventilation.

I was Deputy Coordinator of the 9 Nation European FP7 study PREDICT (becoming acting lead due to the illness of the Lead Coordinator). This project examined the exclusion of older people from clinical trials (a vital topic with our ageing population with multiple comorbidities and polypharmacy). This work produced “The European Charter on Inclusion of Older People in Clinical Trials”, which I presented at the European Parliament in Brussels on June 15th 2011. This influenced European Medicine Agency Policy and I debated this area on BBC News, BBC Radio 4 “You and Yours” Program, as well as the work being featured in New Scientist and the Financial Times. I have organised National and International Research Symposia in London, including the “Charter” launch in BMA House, Bologna and Paris and have been an invited speaker in many conferences, including pro-con debates in five international conferences. In 2019, I was interviewed by the BBC and the Guardian on the findings of the Las Vegas study and the impact of time of day on complications during and after surgery.

I was a member of the independent steering group of the Portfolio BREATHE study, which has examined the role of non-invasive ventilation in weaning from ventilator support and the management committee of the GAINS genomics in sepsis project.

I am currently a co-applicant in the HTA funded INSPIRE study, which is a major study looking at whether preoperative inspiratory muscle training helps reduce postoperative pulmonary complications.

My grant income totals £4 million. I have published 90 papers in peer reviewed journals, 2 editorials, 10 reviews and 8 referenced engineering conference papers, plus 10 book chapters including the Respiratory Disease Chapter in the Oxford Textbook of Anaesthesia.

Research and related activites

I have supervised 8 BMedSci students; all achieving 1st class Hons (one winning a national Intensive Care Society award, another winning the RCOA President’s Prize at the BJA Research Forum/ARS, another winning the ARS best trainee award and finally one winning a VASGBI award), one NICE scholar and 9 PhD/MD students (one with two best papers in conference awards). I set up and chaired the SYCLRN Anaesthesia/Perioperative Medicine/Pain specialty group and also chaired the Critical Care Medicine Specialty Group. I was also the representative on the National Specialty Groups. Since the regions were reorganised I have become Yorkshire and Humber Lead for Research in Anaesthesia/Perioperative Medicine/Pain and more recently the lead for Critical Care Medicine. I am the Academic Lead for a department of over 100 Consultants. I have played a leading role in recruiting over 1000 patients onto Portfolio studies in STH since the beginning of 2013 and a lead role in the development of our enthusiastic trainee group SHARC, which published on “bring on your own device” in “Anaesthesia” in 2015. I have supervised 9 PhDs/MDS and also examined 8 PhDs/MD in Edinburgh, Leicester, Nottingham, Kings College London, Imperial College London and Leeds. As part of my aim to develop the department, I have successfully applied for funding for 3 Academic Clinical Fellows in Anaesthesia for Sheffield, who have or are working on areas relating to critical care or perioperative medicine.

Honorary Secretary of the Anaesthetic Research Society (2011-17) and Council Member 2009 to 2019. I was the Regional Advisor for Intensive Care Medicine from 2002 – 2011 and I set up the regional ICM training scheme and education and training committee. Currently I am one of the Chief Examiners for the UK National Intensive Care Exam (FICM), with lead responsibility for the Structured Oral Section of the exam (2012-2020). I was an Editor of the BJA Postgraduate Educational Journal (2005-19).

I was Chief Executive of the Medical Education and Research Centre Sheffield for 5 years, lead for the National Intensive Care Cost Block Program for 6 years and presented a comparison of Cost Block data against payment by results to the Department of Health in 2009. Locally, I have introduced new policies and practices and established and chair the multidisciplinary Respiratory Support Committee, the Critical Care Serious Infections Committee (leading the Critical Care response to EBOLA as one of the 3 UK surge centres) and have been the clinical lead for making the case for the building of serious infection rooms on GITU.

I am an elected member of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine.

I am representing the FICM Board on the Academy of Royal Colleges and Patient Records Standards Body Technology and Digital Review 2018-onwards.

I authored the Intensive Care Medicine Section of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges Report on Artificial Intelligence in Medicine (published 2019).

I was invited to present a lecture on “Artificial Intelligence and Healthcare Delivery” at the Royal Society as part of their focus this year on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. April 2019.

I am a Member of the Professional Standards Committee/Professional Affairs and Patient Safety (PAS) Committee of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine.

As part of my role on the PAS Committee I am organising and developing a quarterly educational summary for ICM Doctors and staff on safety issues that have occurred in Critical Care, in collaboration with NHS England and NHS Improvement (2019 onwards).

I am a member of the Executive Stakeholder Group of the of the Multidisciplinary ICM, organ donation and transplantation “Peri-mortem Interventions Project.” I represent the FICM.

I am Chair of the FICM ACCEA citations and nominations committee.

I am a member of the Intensive Care Medicine subcommittee of the ESA.

Significant Publications

 Research Publications over the last 10 years