What is your role?
“I am a general surgeon and I specialise in colorectal surgery. I’m also very committed to teaching medical students and encouraging them to become surgeons. I am Training Programme Director in the School of Surgery, for the East Midlands region.
What would you say to a young doctor considering where they would like to work?
“The most important single factor in deciding when you pick any surgical job where you want to work is the people around you as you’ll probably be spending more time with them than your family over the next 30 years or more!
Our surgical colleagues here in Derby are excellent, indeed I’m married to another of my fellow colorectal surgeons, we all share the same high clinical standards, I have no concerns about one of my colleagues stepping in to look after a patient of mine, and we have excellent managers too with a real ‘can do’ attitude.
What do you like particularly about Derby Teaching Hospitals?
“Here at the Royal Derby, we have a family feel. We’re a big hospital but we’re small enough for everyone to have a voice. It’s a great place to work as a surgeon and that’s what I tell my trainees.
It’s because of the special ‘feel’ of the hospital that we get the best trainees who want to come and work with us at the Royal Derby Hospital.”
Why did you decide to take part in the programme?
“I’m really passionate about encouraging women into surgery, fewer than 10% of consultant surgeons are women so I agreed to take part in the filming because I want viewers to see a woman who is a surgeon to get an insight into my world.
How was it working with the camera and crew?
“At times it was hilarious! The crew members were all so easy to get along with, they fitted in very well and they were extremely interested in my role and what I do.
The whole crew spent a weekend on-call following me throughout and they found that to be quite an eye-opener. I don’t think they realised just how intense it can be, taking decisions in the middle of the night that might affect whether a patient lives or dies. By the end of that weekend they had a much better understanding of the commitment that’s needed and the intensity of the situations you often find yourself in as a surgeon.
They found it emotionally draining too. Things didn’t always go well as they followed individual patients and the film crew were sometimes upset by what unfolded as they filmed. As a surgeon you mustn’t ever stop caring but equally you must remain professional and committed to doing all you can for your patient. I think the film crew quickly came to realise how demanding that can be.
How do you think viewers will react to the programme – especially the parts you appear in?
“I really hope that people will realise that in caring for our patients, there aren’t always easy and straightforward decisions to be made, as doctors we don’t always have all the answers.
Too often the NHS is portrayed as being uncaring and I hope these programmes show that that absolutely isn’t the case, certainly not here in Derby.”