A week in the life of CSC’s UK Medical Director…and a consultant anaesthetist

Monday: It’s 6:30 am as I get into my car to drive from Doncaster to Solihull where I have an excellent full English breakfast before meetings with my Clinical team and update calls all morning. A further afternoon of meetings is scheduled with the weekly NHS Executive Board and, later on, the Governance Board.

Tuesday: Today I’m attending a meeting at Westmorland General Hospital, a University of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust hospital. It’s approaching 5:00 pm as I pull into the car park at Kendal for a meeting about the clinicians’ perspective of Lorenzo. This amicable meeting, between like-minded doctors from University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust, NHS Connecting for Health and CSC, is essential to demonstrating to clients our commitment and understanding of working on the NHS frontline. It also provides me with intelligence to share with the CSC Executive Board, which may otherwise be extremely difficult to obtain. On the way out, it’s great to see CSC’s Healthcare Self-Service Kiosks in outpatients.

Wednesday: I’m working from home today. My day begins with an 8:30 am Executive Update call. Each executive shares their important and/or urgent business. This keeps us joined-up as a team and allows us to find areas for collaboration. Afterwards, much of my morning is spent researching topics and building networks for new business opportunities. ‘Bundling’ solutions together looks promising. A ‘bundle’ is a blend of several CSC products and services that, when combined, result in more customer value than when implemented individually. At 12:30 pm I catch the train to London to meet senior doctors at the Royal College of Physicians. I compose a new blog post for C3, en-route. Professional groups are crucial for shaping how IT use will develop in the NHS. The Royal College of Physicians and the Academy of the Medical Royal Colleges are leading organisations in this area. I’ll also attend the Council meeting of UKCHIP, a registration body for health informatics professionals.

Thursday: Today I swap my business suit for theatre greens. I leave the house at 7:00 am and drive to the hospital ‘Park and Ride’ facility at Doncaster Racecourse, but choose to walk the mile and a half to Doncaster Royal Infirmary. My day at the hospital starts with seeing my patients on the wards prior to surgery. By 8:30 am I’m in theatre. Today’s theatre list includes some minor orthopaedic surgery, and four big cases: hip replacements on two elderly gentlemen, a baby with a congenital dislocation of the hip and a teenager for a repair of the cruciate knee ligaments – there’s different anaesthetic risks with each. I also provide other colleagues with advice on difficult cases. At 5:30 pm I check each patient again in recovery, sort out their post-op pain relief, intravenous fluids, etc, and then walk back to my car. I use this time for reflection and to check CSC emails on my BlackBerry®.

Friday: Today I’m at Doncaster Royal Infirmary Women’s Hospital where I assist with two caesarean sections under combined spinal/epidural anaesthesia. Mum is awake for skin-to-skin contact with her baby. Newborns still amaze me! At 11:30 am we fit in two urgent cases; a miscarriage and an ectopic pregnancy. The labour ward is busy, but it’s very satisfying to provide pain relief to women at the end of their tethers. Early afternoon I do some online continuing professional development questionnaires between cases until 4:00 pm when a 36-week pregnant patient arrives with severe pre-eclampsia. She’s on the verge of fitting so we rapidly administer intravenous magnesium and perform an emergency caesarean under general anaesthesia. This is high-risk so we monitor her carefully in the high-dependency unit. A midwife bleeps me to say the locum doctor won’t arrive for a couple of hours, and could I do an epidural in room four, please? “Oh, by the way, she weighs 140 kg and says she’s got ‘scoline apnoea’. Is that important?” [yes, very!]