We’re honouring health professionals for their dedication and contribution within the health and care sector this National Doctor’s Day.

Clinicians, data engineers and scientists at CLEAR and 33n have a shared passion to improve services and systems to solve workforce challenges to better patient care.

In aid of this, we recently interviewed Consultant Anaesthetist, Henry Collier, on what his journey on becoming a health professional and his insights within the chosen sector have been.

Please can you introduce yourself

My name is Henry Collier. I’m a Consultant Anaesthetist working in the North West, and have been involved with the CLEAR programme since 2019. I have an interest in neuro-anaesthesia, change management and leadership, as well as education.

What made you want to become a health professional?

I was exposed to science as a child and especially enjoyed the practical application of it. I was strongly drawn to surgery or anaesthesia which are both practical specialities. During my university education, and more so in my foundation programme years as a newly qualified Doctor, I found anaesthesia interesting and enjoyable. Especially given that it afforded me to have a practical ‘hands on’ approach to medicine. It also provides a balance between routine elective work and the acute emergency work within emergency theatres and the emergency department.

What does your typical day look like?

I work in a trust that typically schedules theatres as ‘3 session days’ and so I am frequently on site from 7.30am until 7pm. My usual elective, or planned, surgical sessions start with meeting and reviewing the patients listed for the day, doing a team brief with the surgical and theatre teams to plan out work, and then proceeding to complete each case. The end of the day is ensuring the patients are settled and recovered from the immediate stage of the post operative stage, that their care is handed over to the ward teams, and that it is safe for me to leave! During the day there are a variety of other activities including reviewing patients for future lists, as well as following up on previous cases. I get a lot of opportunity to teach and support junior trainees medical students, as well as a wide range of allied health professionals who are starting their training, or moving into the theatre environment from other areas, which I love.

Since November 2020 I have been involved in the National CLEAR Faculty within the mental health theme. These typically involve several meetings, both with colleagues from education and delivery, and with the supervisors and wider CLEAR team to ensure we are running the projects to the best of our ability, and note areas for improvement.

What advice would you give to those who are looking to get into the health sector? 

I would say that the most important thing is to make sure you remember that no one is a fully ‘independent’ party in healthcare. Every professional within healthcare acts as a small part of a much greater system, and one small step in a patient’s journey. This means not only valuing and respecting the contributions of all other members of the multidisciplinary team, but also that you can always ask for support. One of the big learnings during COVID was that we all need some support during our working lives, and that we should be open and supportive of that.

What do you enjoy about doing both clinical and innovation work? 

The joy of medical training is that, in addition to the direct clinical training, we are exposed to a wider range of internal and external opportunity for professional development. The two days a week I work with CLEAR gives me the opportunity to provide added benefit to a different cohort of patients, in a very different way and at a much larger scale. My clinical work is typically focussed on a single patient, and so the benefits are limited to that person. Within my wider role as a consultant, I can support the continued improvement within my department, and within the trust. With CLEAR, and innovation work in general, the benefits are to a whole service, and to the associates that come through the programme.

How has CLEAR supported your career?

My two leading points in my CV are my experience of neuro-anaesthesia and my experience of innovation and change management. In healthcare, especially in the post-COVID recovery era, there is a huge need for this skill set. My experience of CLEAR, through my journey from fellow in 2019 to faculty from 2020-2022, has armed me with a set of skills beyond that normally acquired within the training programme.

Here at CLEAR, we are dedicated to drive improvement and commit to empowering healthcare staff to innovate transformation, sharing the same vision with those closest to the delivery of care and within the industry.