Expertise in general, abdominal, laparoscopic and colorectal surgery

Professional

I attended King Edward VI School in Bury St Edmunds until 1989 when I started at University College London Medical School. During this time I achieved an additional Bachelor of Science degree in anatomy in 1992. My house officer year was spent at Ipswich Hospital and back at University College Hospital before completing my basic surgical training at Cambridge, King’s Lynn and Norwich. I then returned to London to work on my thesis at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead. During this period I was appointed to the Southeast Thames Higher Surgical Training Programme and started my registrar years at the Kent and Sussex Hospital in Tunbridge Wells. The rotation took me through Eastbourne, Lewisham, Medway, Brighton and finally to St Thomas’ Hospital in London. I completed my training at Colchester having been awarded a national fellowship in laparoscopic surgery. I have also trained overseas to broaden my horizons in surgical practice. In 2007, I visited Sao Paulo to learn more about the advanced treatment of rectal cancer. This stimulated a longstanding interest in the subject and I am now a member of faculty for the world’s leading rectal cancer meeting which is held every two years. I have also been keen to advance techniques in minimal access surgery and in addition to my fellowship in Colchester I spent some time in Hong Kong learning about the very latest technologies and skills in laparoscopic surgery. The next step is to explore the possibilities of natural orifice surgery where skin incisions can be avoided altogether. This field is in its infancy but is a new and exciting area that requires further research and development. I have experience of this type of surgery after completing a fellowship in Rio de Janeiro in 2011. I am now leading a programme to develop these techniques at Colchester and I have already successfully performed natural orifice specimen extraction (N.O.S.E.) for colon cancer and transanal total mesorectal excision for rectal cancer.

In addition to these operative innovations, I am a keen trainer and teach medical students, junior doctors and postgraduate MSc students. I have also trained fellow consultants in the operating theatre as part of the LAPCO programme and also in the classroom during “Train the Trainer” courses. I believe that much of what is learnt by surgeons can be done before patient contact and this is where simulation has become so important. I have developed a virtual reality simulation curriculum for trainees whereby they can learn and practice operations on video software prior to going into the operating theatre. This will improve efficiency of training during busy NHS lists but also increase patient safety.
In 2017, I was invited to Myanmar (Burma) to teach and train their surgeons. We showed that it was possible to employ the latest techniques in minimal access surgery without necessarily using expensive equipment or technology. This is an emerging but fascinating country that now requires investment in expertise to improve the care their patients receive. We hope to forge new links with their surgeons so that we can continue to offer support in future.

I am a member of numerous national and international surgical organisations and associations and have published widely on training, rectal cancer and minimal access surgery.

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