Which NHS and Academic Institutions do you work for?
University College London and I have an honorary contract as a medical physicist with University College London Hospital. Previously I was an NHS employee, as Head of the Department of Medical Physics at the Royal Surrey County Hospitals NHS Trust and an honorary professor at Surrey University.
What do you like about being a Clinical Academic?
The sheer variety in the different aspects of the role, particularly the opportunity to contribute to improvements in healthcare through participating in research and being involved in education and training.
Can you briefly describe how you became and developed as a Clinical Academic?
I was fortunate to be funded by the Medical Research Council to undertake a PhD. I then worked predominantly in NHS healthcare scientist roles with the exception of a 2-year post-doctoral post carrying out a national dosimetric intercomparison of UK radiotherapy centres. In all of the hospital posts there were opportunities to participate in research and / or development of clinical services, which is an integral component of a clinical scientist role.
Give one example of where your work has changed practice?
I was involved in one study to evaluate the risk of ischaemic heart disease among women treated with radiotherapy for breast cancer, the final findings have been reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, and this has contributed to a greater awareness of cardio-toxicity and the need to spare the heart in radiotherapy treatment planning.
What advice would you give to a Healthcare Scientist who is an aspiring Clinical Academic?
Take every opportunity to collaborate with others, be that academic researchers, professional bodies or other external stakeholders, and look to participate proactively in journal clubs, conferences, professional body activities, healthcare science networks, local research activities and public engagement events.