Born in Manchester, a product of a doctor/nurse marriage, it was perhaps inevitable that I should follow in my father’s footsteps and enter the medical profession. After obtaining my university degree, I completed the compulsory 12 months as a resident ‘house officer’ in a large city centre hospital. It was an unforgettable experience. With a dozen of my contemporaries, I was ‘thrown in at the deep end’. We lived in the doctors ‘mess’, and were on duty for anything up to 100 hours a week. Like squaddies under the charge of a belligerent sergeant major, we survived thanks to a combination of dark humour and bloody minded perseverance! This compulsory year completed, I undertook surgical training then gained 25 years experience as a consultant surgeon.
My desire to influence the effectiveness of clinical practice led me to undertake management training and to become the medical director of an NHS Trust – though I continued as a practising surgeon.
When I finally hung up my scalpel, I took a post as a clinical advisor to the Healthcare Commission, reviewing the quality of surgical practice and learning the lessons when things went wrong.
Now retired, I pass my time pleasantly with ‘the three G’s’ - Gardening, Golf and Grandchildren – together with the occasional Glass of Gin and, if I am to be completely honest, the odd Grumble that ‘things aren’t what they used to be’.