Professor Radford trained as a doctor, and has had a long history in public health at local, national and international levels. Prior to her current role she was Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, which included advising and influencing ministers, key officials, professionals and the public. She was a regular speaker at conferences and with the media. She had considerable experience both at developing national policy and strategy, and also implementation. During the current pandemic she has been advising the Church of England nationally on their response to COVID-19, and has been working with the government on specific aspects of its response. She was a member of Operation Talla Ethics Committee supporting the police response.
In an interview with the BMJ in July 2020, Professor Radford pointed out that we were all conscious that the COVID-19 pandemic had a serious impact on people, and she was acutely aware of the direct impact it had had on people’s physical, mental and spiritual health. Professor Radford recognized the importance of faith in these situations, and noted that the church was addressing the great inequality made so clear by the pandemic. She observed that this was both in the way it had affected people and in recognizing that the most deprived people would be left with the worst legacy.
Professor Radford said that there would be lasting and very challenging problems with which society had to grapple, and suggested that the medical profession was trusted and could speak out in a way that was not political. It was necessary to highlight the links between inequality, racial discrimination, and people’s health and wellbeing.
The medical profession also had an important role to play in ensuring that people who were suffering because services were directed away from them during the pandemic were helped and supported as much as possible.