As a physician with a long-term interest in teaching, what improvements in interventional radiology education and training do you hope to see in Europe?
Training in Europe varies enormously between countries. There needs to be a uniform standard and a curriculum stipulating training requirements in interventional radiology. The European Board of Interventional Radiology (EBIR), which was introduced in 2010, provides evidence of achieving a certain standard as participants have to submit a log book, provide evidence of training and pass an exam. This is a first step in the right direction.
If you had a wishlist with three areas you could improve in interventional radiology practice, what would they be?
Firstly, I would like our clinical responsibility to be acknowledged by having our own admitting rights, beds, junior teams and clinics. Secondly, I would like to see radiology trainees selected according to whether they wish to be diagnostic or interventional radiologists, so that appropriate numbers of each can be admitted for training. Naturally, there will be a certain amount of cross-over in the first three years, but this would assure adequate numbers of interventional radiologists.
Thirdly, interventional radiology trainees should be available for interventional radiology on call. In our current system, a consultant interventional radiologist can find themselves doing a difficult procedure in the middle of the night with a trainee who has no relevant experience or interest in interventional radiology. This leads to a lost training opportunity and a tough night.
What are the honours you have received that you look back on with pride?
Being made a professor of interventional radiology was a great moment. I did not believe it would happen, as there were so many hurdles to cross. My inaugural lecture was the first time that my family had heard me lecture. I am just sorry that it was too late for my father to appreciate as it would have made him incredibly proud. It is also a source of great pride to have been elected the president of the British Society of Interventional Radiology in 2001. I was supported by so many brilliant colleagues. I felt very proud that they had faith in me.
I consider it a supreme honour to have been elected vice-president of CIRSE. Whether I will look back at my time in office with pride remains to be seen, but I am certainly proud to have been entrusted with the role.
What do you hope to achieve as vice-president of the CIRSE executive committee?
I think that CIRSE is going from strength to strength. It has had great leaders who have achieved so much in the past few years that it is difficult to see what more can and should be done. But of course there is always more. I am particularly interested in interventional radiologists acquiring clinical status. Other specialties like haematology have come out from the labs and have beds and admitting rights.
There is no other discipline that performs therapeutic procedures without taking clinical responsibility and ownership. We are not simply technicians and, as Charles Dotter, warned, should not act as such, particularly when most of us have been practicing physicians or surgeons before going into interventional radiology.
Which new techniques and technologies will you be watching closely in the future?
There are quite a few. I think drugs are going to have a big impact on interventional radiology practice and I find the new treatments for cancer, delivering therapy directly to the tumour, fascinating. The role of stem cells is still in its infancy, but again this has incredible potential. I am also very interested in renal denervation. It will be interesting to see whether the results remain good when rolled out into more general practice.
What are your interests outside medicine?
I am always surprised that anyone has time for these as family and work take up a lot of time, but I have been renovating a Grade II listed early 17th century farmhouse, which has been great fun. I hesitate to mention it, but I have also taken up clay pigeon shooting and pheasant shooting, which I have found I am quite good at and I love!
- Royal College of Radiologists (RCR)
- British Society of Interventional Radiology
- Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiological Society of Europe (CIRSE)
- British Institute of Radiology
1992 to date Consultant radiologist, Professor of Interventional Radiology
St George’s Hospital and Medical School
1990–1992 Senior lecturer/honorary consultant radiologist, Royal Postgraduate Medical School/Hammersmith Hospital
1987–1990 Senior lecturer/honorary consultant radiologist, University of Sheffield/Royal Hallamshire Hospital
Membership international committees
2011–13 Vice-president of the Cardiovasular and Interventional Radiological Society of Europe (CIRSE)
2009–2011 Treasurer of CIRSE
2010 Chairperson of the Interventional Radiology Committee of the European Congress of Radiology (ECR)
2009 Member of the Programme Planning Committee of the ECR for 2011
2007– 2009 Chairman of the Rules Committee, CIRSE
1997–1998 Chairman of the Subspecialty Training Curriculum Subcommittee of RCR
Service on national committees
2000–2009 Radiology member of the Committee of Safety of Devices of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)
2001–2003 President, British Society of Interventional Radiology
2002–2008 Member of the Interventional Procedures Advisory Committee National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)
2008–2009 Member of the Safe Site Surgery Expert Reference Group of the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA)