Curriculum vitae: Andrew Rowland
Publication date: 21 Nov 2017
Andrew Rowland decided early in his training that he wanted to work in emergency paediatrics. During his career both this specialty choice and his involvement in medico-politics have provided him with a huge amount of variety. He has worked in the US and Cambodia through his charity work.
I decided I wanted to do emergency paediatrics during a medical student attachment in a brand new children’s hospital in Derby. The team there were so enthusiastic about having students, welcoming us and giving us a job to do. They made us feel like a proper part of the team.
Working with children
With emergency paediatrics you get a huge variety of clinical cases and no two days are the same. Children generally have a very positive attitude. They may be upset or scared but if you treat them in the right way they usually get better quite quickly. That’s not always the case with adults. A lot of people say they don’t want to work with children but I love it—they’re true to themselves and often say things that brighten up the day.
I got involved in medical politics as a student union rep and then with the BMA Junior Doctors Committee. As a team we achieved a lot in terms of juniors’ training and hours of work. I also learnt a great deal—the BMA’s negotiating skills training has been so useful both as a junior doctor and a consultant.
I’m 40 and still have as much of my career ahead of me as I have completed since I qualified. So it’s really important for me to have an interesting and diverse portfolio to provide a balance. My employer and colleagues recognise the benefits of this as I can bring lots of different skills to my role.
The highlight of my career was being awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship. It enabled me to spend three months in the US and South East Asia looking at good practice around safeguarding children. I looked at child advocacy centres in the US to which children can self refer if they need extra support for things like child abuse, domestic violence, or witnessing serious crime. I’ve been working with a research group in Salford looking at setting up something similar. We have involved children and young people right from the start, engaging them as proper partners in the design of the scheme. A lesson people in other branches of medicine can learn is that if you do proper co-design and co-production you will get a much better outcome.
During my fellowship I also looked at the impact of the mandatory reporting of child abuse. When I see cases in the media about professionals missing signs of child abuse I think many of them could have been avoided if there had been better communication. I also called for a ban on smacking—small steps are being taken on this. There has been a consultation in Scotland on the issue and one is planned in Wales—things need to change but it won’t happen overnight.
I have set up a registered charity called SicKids which is based between the north west of England and Cambodia. In September we opened a sensory space in the children’s emergency department at North Manchester General Hospital and we’re going to open something similar in a hospital in Cambodia. I’m registered with the Cambodian medical council and go to Sihanoukville twice a year to run a clinic—I do a lot of child protection work there and see chronic disease, malnutrition but also things like asthma. Sihanoukville is popular among Australian and Chinese tourists and it’s a beautiful holiday destination—white sands, blue seas—but there are also a lot of young people there who live on the streets and beaches.
Learning from Cambodia
We funded a nurse practitioner to come to Manchester for a week to shadow a nurse in the emergency department. But we can learn a lot from Cambodia. We introduced an asthma protocol there—it was peer reviewed, locally designed and modified, and introduced within a day. They have a positive, can-do attitude—if that was the NHS we would probably still be talking about it.
I was involved in the response to the Manchester Arena bombing. What struck me was how well the emergency plan worked but also the response from patients, the public, and their families. They were caught up in something horrific but they conducted themselves with absolute dignity and were very supportive to each other.
1995-2000: University of Nottingham
2000-04: House officer and senior house officer posts, Nottingham and Manchester
2004-09: Specialist registrar posts in paediatrics and paediatric emergency medicine in the north west of England
2006-07: Vice chairman of the BMA Junior Doctors Committee
2009-present: Consultant in paediatric emergency medicine, Manchester
2010-17: Member of the BMA Consultants Committee
2014: Fellow, Winston Churchill Memorial Trust
2014-present: Honorary professor (paediatrics), University of Salford
2015-present: Chairman of the board of trustees of SicKids charity
2015-present: Interim deputy medical director, Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust