Dr Jill Meara FFPH

Divisional Head and Public Health Consultant for the Health Protection Agency, Radiation Protection Division

Date to Birth: 4 October 1957

Nationality: British

Address: 15 Church Lane
Middleton Cheney
Oxon. OX17 2NR

Dependants: Two daughters aged 19 and 16

GMC number: 2720746


Sutton High School for Girls, G.P.D.S.T., Sutton, Surrey, 1965-1975

Newnham College, CAMBRIDGE, 1975-1978

Brasenose College and the Radcliffe Infirmary, OXFORD, 1978-1981


BA. Part I Medical Sciences Tripos (2:1) 1976-7 Part II Natural Sciences Tripos (2:1) 1978 Subject : Anatomy

BM. BCh. Oxford 1981

MA. 1982

Awards/ Distinctions

Newnham College Scholarship 1976

Adult Certificate for Verse Speaking with Distinction (The Poetry Society) 1974


Diploma of the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology - November 1983

M.Sc. in Community Medicine, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. September 1985

Part I Membership of the Faculty of Community Medicine (M.F.C.M). July 1985

Part II M.F.C.M. February 1989

Accreditation by the JCHMT for higher training in Public Health Medicine (certificate dated May 1991)

F.F.P.H.M. (Fellowship of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine) July 1995 (Faculty previously known as Community Medicine and now renamed Faculty of Public Health).

Local Board Member of the Board of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine1991-1996


1. August 1981 - February 1982 House Surgeon to Messrs J E M Smith and P C Bewes The Birmingham Accident Hospital Ward work and heavy casualty responsibility

2. February 1982 - August 1982 House Physician to Dr P W Fisher Horton General Hospital, Banbury Acute General Medicine and an interest in diabetes, gastroenterology and geriatrics

3. September 1982 - November 1982 Senior House Officer in Gynaecology to Messrs W J R Anderson, J L Marcus and M F Reed Walsgrave Hospital, Coventry Acute and routine gynaecology with experience in theatre

4. November 1982 - May 1983 Senior House Officer in Obstetrics to Messrs W J R Anderson, J L Marcus and M F Reed Coventry Maternity Hospital General duties in a busy Obstetric Unit

5. July 1983 - February 1984 Senior House Officer in General Medicine to Dr C R Newman Horton General Hospital, Banbury General medicine with a special interest in cardiology. Much experience in practical procedures including temporary cardiac pacing, liver biopsy and temporary peritoneal dialysis

6. February 1984 - July 1984 Senior House Officer in Psychiatry to Dr T D E Richardson The Central Hospital, Warwick General adult psychiatry


1. August 1984 - January 1989 Registrar/Senior Registrar in Community Medicine Oxford Regional Health Authority

  • Seconded to Oxfordshire Health Authority Service Tutor : Dr R T Mayon-White
  • Seconded to Northampton Health Authority and Oxford University
    Academic Tutor: Professor M P Vessey
    (Service Tutors: Dr P A Kitchener and Dr W J McQuillan)
    Department of Community Medicine and General Practice

2. November 1988 - December 1989 Consultant in Community Medicine/CCDC Northampton Health Authority Major areas of work : communicable disease control, Social Services liaison, planning services for disabled people

3. December 1989 - September 2000 Director of Public Health Northamptonshire Health Authority (and its predecessor authorities) (December 1989 - December 1990 in acting capacity) Executive Director, Northamptonshire Health Authority (and predecessors) since January 1991. During my time as Director of Public Health in Northamptonshire I was involved in the whole range of Public Health work at a local level. I was also CCDC until the 1995 reorganisation.

NHS Management Commitments:

Chair of Oxford Regional Public Health Physicians Group (1994-7)

Member of the High Secure Psychiatric Services Commissioning Board representing the Anglia and Oxford Region (1996 - 1999)

Purchaser representative on the Regional Research and Development Committee (1994 - 1999) and various of its sub-groups (for example the libraries and librarian development project)

Chairman of the CASP Board (the Critical Appraisal Skills Project) (1996 - 2000)

Health Authority representative on the South East Regional Waiting List Task Force. 1999 - 2000.

Member of the management board of the Public Health Resource Unit of the Institute of Health Sciences in Oxford. 1998 - 2000.


Public Health Physician September 2000- November 2002

Division Head and Public Health Physician November 2002 – March 2003

Deputy Director and Public Health Physician March 2003 to date (spanning incorporation into the HPA)

My main role at NRPB was to develop its Public Health role. Prior to merger with the HPA I represented NRPB on some of the subgroups of the HPA project team. During my time at NRPB I wrote many articles and contributed to Website and other public materials. Some examples are described below.

The Public Health role entailed:

Working with NRPB scientists to ensure that research and advice was more easily understood by the public. This included an input to developments on the NRPB Website for example the Sunsense poster and Risk Tiles game as well as developing plain English summaries of NRPB research and advice. I also helped the World Health Organisation develop plain English material on the risks of sunbeds and occupational exposure to ultraviolet radiation.

Being secretary to R,RSAG, the Radiation, Risk and Society Advisory Group, the multi-professional NRPB advisory group that advised on how best to communicate messages about radiation risk to the public. On behalf of the group I organised a successful event allowing people from a variety of governmental organisations to share definitions of important terms used in public perception of risk. A report (In Terms of Risk) was published following this event. I have also published a paper on risk perception in the Journal of Radiological Protection that began to explore why professionals find it difficult to explain risks to the pubic. This group has metamorphosed into the HPA-wide Health and Society Advisory Group (HSAG), still chaired by Sir Ken Calman and part of the Communications division but I remain on the secretariat.

Co-ordinating a UK-wide health promotion campaign about the health effects of UVR. On the back of this work, the Department of Health allocated over £100,000 per annum to fund Cancer Research UK to run a national SunSmart campaign. The NRPB contribution to the campaign was the Sunsense poster and "question and answer" document. Sunsense is still available on paper an in an interactive version on the Website. Sunsense summarises the independent Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation (AGNIR) report on the health effects of UV radiation in a format that appeals to young people.

Handling individual enquiries from members of the public who have specific health concerns. Many enquirers are in considerable distress and need a mixture of accurate scientific information, a sympathetic ear, medical knowledge and practical strategies to reduce stress, even if the cause of their symptoms is unknown.

Offering training to NHS staff to give them confidence to play their part in handling acute or chronic radiation incidents. This involved developing NRPB collaboration with the scientific bodies who lead the investigation of chemical and microbiological hazards to ensure that response systems and training are appropriate for an all hazards approach.

Liaising with the Institute of Naval Medicine and other bodies that would offer assistance to deal with clinical aspects of radiation injury of contamination.

NRPB management commitments which have continued into the HPA

Division head and management responsibility for 3 scientific departments

HPA assessor for the Committee for the Medical Effects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE).

Secretariat member of the Dounreay Particles and Sellafield Particles Working Groups of COMARE.

Member of the Inter-Departmental Liaison Group on Non-ionising radiation.

Director of RPD's work as a WHO Collaborating Centre.

Manager of the Corporate and Business Planning process at the HPA Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards (CRCE).

Member of the RPD Ethical Review Committee (animal research).

Chair of the National Registry for Radiation Workers Steering Group (NRRW). A third analysis of the data from this important cohort study of radiation workers was published in early 2009.

Chair of the RPD Investors in People steering group


Health Protection Agency, Radiation Protection Division, Deputy Director/Public Health Consultant Public Health/Health Protection role, general aspects

I continue to develop expertise in the public health aspects of radiological protection. This includes basic physics and medical and biological aspects of ionising and non-ionising radiation exposure. I also use expertise in public communication, media work, training/lecturing and dealing with non-mainstream scientific views. I work with RPD scientists to ensure that research and advice is more easily understood by the public. Following the RPD approval procedure the postholder I am responsible for "signing off" scientific publications and advice from my departments.

I lead or contribute to projects developing formal radiation protection advice on a number of topics. Current examples include advice on use of Prussian Blue as a decorporation agent for radiocaesium and advice to hospitals on protection of patients who might be pregnant (jointly with the Royal College of Radiographers and College of Radiographers). I am also involved in developing new advice on protection of the pubic from the health risks of radon.

I respond to enquiries about all aspects of radiological protection and radiation incidents from elsewhere in the HPA, especially LaRS (Local and Regional Services), the Department of Health and other government departments, Devolved Administrations and agencies. As the only medically qualified member of staff in the Division, I continue to deal directly with enquiries about "medical" concerns from members of the public related to all aspects of radiation. This includes attendance at public meetings and work with the national and local press as appropriate.

I am on the senior on-call rota for the Division and I have a specific role in the emergency response arrangements for RPD and chair the RPD group that co-ordinates emergency preparedness across the division. The emergency response role involves being media spokesman for the division or deputising for the divisional director.

Most of the work of RPD has a national focus throughout the countries of the UK. RPD develops advice that is used across government departments and agencies and local government in the UK. I manage the regular liaison meetings with colleagues from the Devolved Administrations. I am the Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Radiation that is part of HPA-RPD.

I am involved in formal and informal training of HPA and NHS staff for example radiation awareness, top-up and Masters programmes to give staff confidence to play their part in handling acute or chronic radiation emergencies. This is often followed up by individual enquiries about specific local public concerns.

Public Health/Health Protection role, specific projects in 2009

I am the HPA representative on the SAGE (Stakeholder Advisory Group on EFL-EMF) process. SAGE was set up jointly by the UK Departments of Health, National Grid Transco and the charity Children with Leukaemia. Its role is to define practical measures to prevent exposure to power frequency magnetic and electric fields that have been linked, in epidemiological studies, with childhood leukaemia and other conditions at levels well below current exposure guidelines. I was a member of the editorial team for the first SAGE publication. Stakeholders have a wide range of opinions, including public concern groups, non-mainstream science and an open attitude is needed by all participants in order to make steady consensual progress with the tasks.

I am is the HPA Assessor on COMARE, the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment, with an input to developing plain English summaries of COMARE reports.

I lead for the HPA on response to the Redfern Inquiry into post mortems in the nuclear industry.

I am a member of the HPA Advisory Group on Ionising Radiation (AGIR) radon subgroup that is drafting a major report on health risks of radon to be published in 2009.

I am the lead RPD director for the Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation (AGNIR).

Management role

I am a member of the senior management team of RPD and have direct responsibility for 3 scientific departments/sections.

I sit on the HPA Board Sub-Committee on Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards.

I lead on liaison between RPD and Devolved Administrations.

I am responsible for management of HPA key health protection programme 8 (radiation) and production and monitoring of the Centre Business Plan.

I lead on clinical governance in RPD, am Caldicott Guardian and am a member of a number of HPA groups: Clinical and Health Protection Governance Group, Healthcare Standards Implementation Group, HPA Research Sponsorship Review Group, Equality and Diversity Steering Group.


University of Oxford Medical School - Medical student teaching in Public Health Medicine. Lectures on practical outbreak investigation - 1985-88.

Nene College (now University of Northampton) - Health Sciences Degree - Epidemiology Module - 1989-90.

I developed a local secondment scheme into NHS Public Health for GPs, nurses and professions allied to medicine in 1996 to.

I successfully bid for a Nurse Consultant post in Public Health in the first national allocation of such posts in 2000.

I successfully recruited the first SpR secondment to NRPB for a project to investigate the definition, epidemiology and management of electrical sensitivity. Other trainee projects have tackled significant topics such as evaluation of the UK radon programme.

Numerous talks and short courses for HPA, Primary Care Trust, NHS, Local Authority, Institute of Naval Medicine and other audiences about Public Health aspects of radiological protection

Trainer of Specialist Registrars since 1990. I act as trainer for public health trainees doing projects within HPA-RPD (usually one person at any one time).


Faculty of Public Health local board member 1991-1999 (by election).

Governor of University of Northampton (formerly Nene College) 1994 – 2000.

Member of the Fellowship Committee of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine. 1999 - 2001.

Rapporteur for an EU Article 31 Expert Group seminar in the radiological risks of mammographic breast screening (November 2002).

Examiner for Part B of the MFPH (OSPHE, formerly Part II), 1999 to date. Prolific question setter for the OSPHE exam and member of the question development team and examination executive.

Outside Interests

"Time with the children"


General Public Health

1. Meara, J R and Williams, J H (letter) Factors associated with the intellectual ability of children born to women with high risk pregnancies. BMJ 1984; 288: 1382.

2. Meara, J R, Mant D and Marshall, V (letter) Epidemics of fractures during periods of snow or ice. BMJ 1986; 293: 883.

3. Meara, J R (letter) Viral gastro-enteritis and food handlers - melon off the menu. Lancet 1987; ii 865.

4. Meara, J R , Mayon-White, R T and Johnston, H Salmonellosis in a psychogeriatric ward: problems of infection control. J Hosp Inf; 1988: 11: 86-90.

5. Anderson, P; Meara, J R; Brodhurst, S; Attwood, S; Timbrell, M; and Gatherer, A Use of hospital beds: a cohort study of admissions to a provincial teaching hospital. BMJ 1988; 297: 910-912.

6. Meara, J R, Vessey, M and Fairweather, D V A randomised double-blind controlled trial of the value of diethylstilbestrol in pregnancy - 35 years follow up of mothers and their offspring. Brit J Obstetrics and Gynaecology; 1989: 620-622.

7. Meara, J R An investigation of health and lifestyle in people who have private water supplies at home. Community Medicine 1989; 11: 131-139.

8. Meara, J R , McPherson, K, Roberts, M and Vessey, M Alcohol, cigarette smoking and breast cancer. The Br J Cancer 1989; 60: 70-73.

9. Williams, J H, Meara, J R and Azmitia, E C Effects of 5.7 Dihydroxytryptamine injections in the fornix-fimbria on locomotor activity in photocell cages and the open field. Behavioural Brain Research 1990; 40: 37-44.

10. Meara, J R, Wood, J L, Wilson, M A and Hart, M C Home from Hospital : A survey of hospital discharge arrangements in Northamptonshire. J Public Health Medicine 1992; 14: 145-150.

11. Sutcliffe, RLG and Meara, JR Parkinson's disease epidemiology in the Northampton District, England, 1992. Acta Neurol Scand 1995:92; 443-45.

12. Burls, AJ and Meara JR Investigating a cluster of disease. Chapter for the Oxford Handbook of Public Health. OUP 200


Radiological Protection

1. Meara JR Why have you come to this sleepy backwater ? NRBP responds to the need for Public Health advice. 2000; 2(2): 3-4

2. Meara JR To boldly go…..NRPB responds to the need for Public Health advice. Chemical Incident Report 2000; 18: 19.

3. Meara JR Radiotherapy to keep coronary arteries open. Radiological Protection Bulletin March 2001 No229 p6

4. Meara JR NRPB is a Public Health Organisation. Radiological Protection Bulletin June 2001 No230 p 23-26

5. Meara JR The Work of NRPB as a WHO Collaborating Centre. Radiological Protection Bulletin June 2001 No230 p 30-33

6. Meara JR There's something smoking in the State of Denmark. Radiological Protection Bulletin June 2001 No230 p 7

7. Meara JR Getting the message across: is communicating risk to the public worth it? Journal of Radiological Protection March 2002; 22 : 79-85.

8. Meara JR UVR and Prostate Cancer. Radiological Protection Bulletin December 2001 No 232 p4

9. Meara JR Sunsense: protecting yourself from Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR) NRPB Board Statement. February 2002

10. A F McKinlay, C M H Driscoll, J R Meara, A J Pearson, R D Saunders and J W Stather. Advice on Protection Against Ultraviolet Radiation. Documents of the NRPB Volume 13 No 3 2002

11. Meara JR Radiological Protection Update in Communicable Disease and Health Protection Quarterly Review: July-September 2002. J Public Health Med; 25 No 1: 78-79, 2003

12. Meara J The National Radiological Protection Board's role in Health Protection. June 2003.

13. Meara JR Is there an epidemic of cancer deaths? Radiological Protection E-Bulletin December 2003 (No.4)

14. Meara JR What does the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) do that could help the Health Protection Agency (HPA) and management of chemical incidents? HPA Chemical Hazard and Poisons report December 2003, 30-31

15. Meara J, Kendall G, Muirhead C and Wall B Radiation doses in infancy and cognitive function in later life, response from the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB). BMJ rapid response 6 January 2004.

16. R Thornton, B Court, J Meara, V Murray, I Palmer, R Scott, M Wale and D Wright. Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Terrorism: and Introduction for Occupational Physicians. Occupational Medicine 54 No2: 101-9, 2004.

17. Meara J "Trouble with TETRA" Report of a PHMEG/NRPB seminar. Journal of Public Health (communicable disease quarterly review) Vol 26 No 3 Sept 2004 314-5.

18. A F McKinlay, S G Allen, R Cox, P J Dimbylow, S M Mann, J R Meara, C R Muirhead, R D Saunders, Z J Sienkiewicz, J W Stather and P R Wainwright Proposals for Limiting Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields (0 to 300 GHz) Summary of comments received on the May 2003 Consultation Document and responses from NRPB NRPB-W59 July 2004.

19. Meara J The Sun as radiation Hazard. Health Protection Matters Summer 2005.

20. Wall BF, Kendall GM, Edwards AA, Bouffler S, Muirhead C and Meara JR What are the risks from medical X-rays and other low dose radiation? B J Radiol, 79, 2006: 285-294.

21. J R Cooper, R Fielder, R Jefferson, J R Meara, K R Smith and J W Stather Comparison of Processes and Procedures for Deriving Exposure Criteria for the Protection of Human Health: Chemicals, Ionising Radiation and Non-ionising Radiation. Documents of the HPA RCE-3 July 2007.

22. Health Emergency Planning, a handbook for practitioners 2nd edition. Chapter on chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidents. Health Protection Agency 2008 Editors Sarah Stewart-Black, Jim Stuart-Black and Eve Coles.

23. A McKinlay and others. Protection of Patients and Volunteers Undergoing MRI Procedures. Documents of the HPA RCE-7 August 2008

24. B F Wall, J R Meara, C R Muirhead, R F Bury, M Murray. Protection of Pregnant Patients during Diagnostic Medical Exposures to Ionising Radiation, Advice from the Health Protection Agency, The Royal College of Radiologists and the College of Radiographers. Documents of the Health Protection Agency Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards March 2009 RCE-9.

25. Warrell DA, Cox TM, Firth JD Eds 2010 Oxford Textbook of Medicine 5th Edition Author of the chapter on radiation.

26. McColl NP, Miles JCH, Green BMR, Dixon DW, Fey R, Meara JR, Harrison JD, Cooper JR (2010) Limitation of Human Exposure to Radon: Advice from the Health Protection Agency. Documents of the Health Protection Agency, Radiation Chemical and Environmental Hazards RCE-15.

27. Clays Handbook of Environmental Health. Author of chapter on radiation for the new edition to be published in 2010.

28. Zhang W,etal. Evaluation and equity audit of the domestic radon programme in England. (2010) Health Policy,doi:10.1016/j.healthpol.2010.09.016