A FORMER Keighley GP has won a glowing accolade.

Dr Maggie Helliwell has received an award recognising her work for the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE).

She was among just 20 people to be presented with the Distinguished Contribution to NICE Award.

The ceremony was held as part of the organisation’s 20th-anniversary celebrations, in the Palace of Westminster.

NICE chairman, Sir David Haslam, handed out the honours.

Dr Helliwell’s citation praised her “significant contribution to the governance of the institute”.

She said she was proud to receive the award, which had “come out of the blue”.

“It has really set the seal on my whole career – from when I first started right to now,” said Dr Helliwell.

“To receive recognition from an organisation that I was proud to be a part of – and is so respected, with an international reputation – just made me feel brilliant.”

Dr Helliwell was a GP at Ling House in Keighley for 35 years and chaired the pioneering Worth Valley Health Consortium.

She was also medical director of Airedale Primary Care Trust.

In 2007, she took on the role of deputy medical director at Airedale Hospital.

That same year she also became a non-executive director of NICE, taking-up the vice-chairmanship in 2009.

Dr Helliwell has served as a non-executive director on the board of Airedale NHS Foundation Trust since 2016.

She said that ever since becoming involved with NICE – which provides national guidance and advice to improve health and social care – it had impacted on her work.

“I had done national work before but this was so significant because of the calibre of the people I was working with and also because it was a central part of the NHS and the way in which clinicians work,” she added.

“While I was there they took over the organisation of the British National Formulary (BNF), which is guidance on all the drugs that can be prescribed.

“I remember the BNF starting off as a little white notebook in the 1970s – now it is a huge computer programme.

“To have that background and knowledge from working with NICE has really helped me.”