It gives me great pleasure to write this introduction having been both honoured and delighted to have become your Patron. I realise I have some very big boots to fill, I have known Dan Wood as a friend and colleague since we both sat in a lab doing research together some 20 years ago. I also know the value he placed on Mitrofanoff Support as a community and information source for both patients and healthcare workers which have included some of my own patients. It was lovely to attend my first support day last autumn and find one of my own patients, in whom I will do a Mitrofanoff channel very shortly, had turned up too. I think he was more surprised to see me than I was to see him! He gave the support day a glowing report, particularly having the opportunity to chat to people with Mitrofanoffs about what it is really like.
So to introduce myself, I am a consultant Urological Surgeon working at Guy’s and St Tomas’ Hospital, just South of the Thames in London, for 10 years now. As well as being in a lab with Dan back in the day, I have worked with him and Christopher Woodhouse at University College London training in adolescent and reconstructive urology. I also spent a year doing a fellowship in the paediatric Urology department at GOSH giving me huge insight into how the journey begins for a lot of you. Guys Urology is a big department and acts as the tertiary centre for most of the southeast corner of the UK. It is a busy but friendly place to work with many skilled teams of doctors, nurses and allied healthworkers. My speciality is functional and reconstructive urology – bad bladders and trying to fix them. I see both men and women with neurological disease, complex continence issues and we have a separate service (YOU or Young Onset Urology) looking after people with congenital problems as they transition from children’s services. In YOU I work with a paediatric Urologist, transplant surgeon and clinical nurse specialist trying to give continuity and support as the teens move across to adult care. No two days are the same and many are long but I love working with my patients to try to find the solution that works for them and gives them best ability to get on with life without their bladders getting in the way.
Home is Southeast London where I live with my husband and “tween” daughter. I am an inveterate city dweller, who, despite enjoying quiet weeks in the countryside on holiday, can’t leave the ease and variety of experiences in London behind. There is nothing I love more than trying out new restaurants, especially new cuisines and luckily London has an inexhaustible supply!
As I write this the restrictions of COVID are slowly being lessened and I am enjoying going back to seeing more of my patients in person when needed. That said, a silver lining of the effects of COVID on the NHS is the widespread integration of virtual or telephone consultations that definitely fit into some people’s lives better. Most importantly, my hospital, like many, have embarked on a big effort to catch-up all the operations that have waited far too long as the theatres lay empty whilst the staff were pulled into caring for those sick with COVID. It feels good to be back in theatres helping my patients, doing the job I was trained to do.
I am really looking forward to the next support day in early October, when I hope to really get stuck in and meet as many of you as possible in person and without restrictions.
Have a lovely summer.