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Specialising in Robotic Training and Minimally-Invasive Surgery

Tuesday, 25 October, 2016 -- Helen Wilson

I am currently a Consultant Surgeon at University College London Hospital (UCLH) and a Senior Lecturer in the Division of Surgery and Interventional Sciences at University College London (UCL) – the hospital’s affiliated university. My undergraduate and subsequent postgraduate training has been quite varied and allowed me to take on a variety of roles throughout UCL. It perhaps demonstrates how a traditional medical degree can lead to other opportunities not just being restricted to clinical work. 

Clinically, I am a specialist in minimally-invasive surgery (MIS) for bowel cancer, which is often colloquially called ‘key-hole surgery’. The operating theatres and facilities at UCLH are some of the best in the World allowing us to use the latest technologies to offer our patients optimal treatments. The skills involved in this further allow me to operate on a variety of non-cancer conditions such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Endometriosis with other colleagues. UCLH is considered a ‘specialist’ or ‘tertiary-referral’ centre, which means many patients travel from other parts of the country to have their treatment. This is a huge privilege for those of us that work here. In addition, my clinical role involves undertaking endoscopy, outpatients’ clinics and periodically acting as the Surgeon-on-call for the hospital and surrounding region.

From a training perspective, I am lead for MIS and Robotic training. We are very fortunate to have fantastic state-of-the-art simulation training facilities including two Da Vinci robots. This role also includes arranging ‘Masterclasses’ where surgeons from around the World can learn the latest techniques from surgeons such as myself. This role is combined with management responsibilities in the hospital particularly centred around how we continue to deliver the latest technologies. One such example is the current business case I am conducting to purchase the latest generation of robots consolidating our position as one of the leading centres in the country.

I run my own research programme at the university and currently supervise two postgraduate students aiming to complete PhDs. My research interests are in colorectal cancer specifically, the use of technology in surgery, image-based therapies, and the use of Virtual Reality in surgery. We are recipients of several grants and bursaries, and hope to continue to conduct meaningful research in these fields.

At the medical school, I am the GI Surgery Lead and coordinate the delivering of the curriculum for the clinical students in the hospital. Whilst most of my commitments are based around postgraduate training, it is important that we ensure medical students are being offered the best of education and receive a truly immersive experience in Surgery as they progress through their studies.

Finally, I have recently been asked to write a novel and unique Master’s Degree for UCL in Advanced MIS Surgery. I am Director of this course and we hope to offer a hugely exciting programme starting in September 2017. I have produced this in conjunction with colleagues of mine from the US and Europe.

I hope this short summary of my various roles gives a glimpse of how taking an undergraduate degree in medicine can lead to many other affiliated responsibilities. It is a long and difficult degree to complete but can often be very rewarding and lead to many opportunities.

Manish Chand MBBS BSc FRCS MBA PhD
Consultant Colorectal Surgeon and Honorary Senior Lecturer