Get to know the London Neurosurgery Partnership a little better...

Meet the consultants behind London Neurosurgery Partnership

London Neurosurgery Partnership comprises of 11 highly skilled surgeons, each an expert in their chosen field. Most have had wide reaching careers to date, both across the UK and internationally, leading to some pretty interesting lives behind the brains! We took 5 minutes out of each surgeon’s day to catch up with the men behind the scrubs!

Meet Ranj Bhangoo the secret pastry chef!

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-   What was the defining moment you decided to be a doctor? It was at the age of 5 when I saw a brain in the museum I decided at the moment I wanted to be a brain surgeon.

-   What do you enjoy most about being a neurosurgeon?  Working with a team of highly motivated colleagues to help patients and families with uncommon and often difficult to treat conditions that affect the most complex structure that we know of in the Universe

-   What is one fact that very few people know about you? When I was at medical school I co-founded a Classical Music Society that has gone on to become the largest festival of Indian Classical music outside of India, held annually at the Southbank

-   Outside of being a surgeon, what are you best at? Making pastry!

-   Who, within the field of Healthcare do you admire most? Anton Chekov, marrying medicine and literature with over a hundred physician characters in his literary career.

-   Away from all of this, how do you relax and switch off from the working day? Spending time with my family.

 

Get to know Richard Selway the marathon running chess player!

-    What was the defining moment you decided to be a doctor? My father was a GP and totally dedicated to his practice.  It was he who alerted me to the remarkable world of biological sciences and their application to the real human being. Once at medical school I realised that brain and spine functions were an area of immense interest where practical advances were achievable and treatments were always going to be specific to a specific person and problem.  No two brains or spines are the same so no two treatments will be identical.

-   What is one fact that very few people know about you? I was in the UK Archery Team and in 1986 was 7th in the World Championships.  I was first reserve for the Seoul Olympics in 1988.  Medicine took up too much of my training time and I had to give up once I qualified as a doctor but was team manager for the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. 

-   Surgery aside, what are you best at? Outside medicine, I’m a strong chess player.  Representing Kent in their first team and just short of Master level – but working on it. I run competitively, as a member of Beckenham Running Club; my fastest Marathon was 3hr 5 Minutes. 

-    Who, within the field of healthcare, do you admire most? Most admired doctor is Ignaz Semmelweiss – a Hungarian doctor who first promoted the concept of hand-washing to reduce infection.  It was not a popular idea at the time and many doctors regarded it as beneath their dignity to be told to wash their hands. However his persistence resulted in a massive reduction in infection and led on to Lister’s work on antisepsis.  I really care about infection in my patients and have made it a particular area of interest.  I have gradually changed my operative technique and preparations over the years to address all areas I can think of to reduce risk.  Semmelweiss reminds us that attention to detail and to apparently minor aspects can make a huge difference.

-   Outside of all of this, how do you relax and switch off from the working day? A game of chess or out for a run usually!

 

Meet Richard Gullan our resident golf pro!

-   What was the defining moment you decided to be a doctor? No single defining moment, but had a strong hankering to be a surgeon from mid-teens. Later realised that to be a good surgeon you have to be technically excellent but also a really good "doctor" in the most general sense. Those two qualities combined make the best surgeon.

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-   What do you enjoy most about being a neurosurgeon?  The work and range of surgery involved, from bold tissue handling to absolutely detailed microsurgery. Treating patients and the fact they entrust us to operate on their brain or spinal cord is a huge honour and great privilege.

-   What is one fact that very few people know about you? I am completely hopeless at cooking and have no knowledge of how to work washing machines and dishwashers. Can do by hand though and am excellent at drying up! Actually, I think too many people know this!

-   Outside of being a surgeon, what are you best at? Playing the violin and missing short putts.

-   Who, within the field of healthcare, do you admire most? Edward Jenner - saved more lives than any other single human being in the history of humankind.

-   How do you relax and switch off from the working day? Being happy at home and with family and friends, especially my incredibly tolerant wife, without whom I would starve!

 

Meet Chris Chandler – the one who can cook!

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-   What was the defining moment you decided to be a doctor?  Watching open heart surgery at The Health Pavillion at Expo 67 in Montreal. 

-   Outside of all of this, how do you relax and switch off from the working day? Getting some good music on and cooking up a storm!

 

Get to know the poet Christos Tolias

-   What was the defining moment you decided to be a doctor? In school I was fascinated by biology. Seeing closely a brilliant local doctor, who cared and spent time with his patients, was one of my first triggers.

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-   What do you enjoy most about being a neurosurgeon? The ability to approach areas of the human body that are very challenging to treat and achieving, against all odds, results. We admit patients that are in a coma and it always moves me when they return in clinic months later to tell me how grateful they are. Finally, the site of the human brain is still awe inspiring to me. I also relish the challenge of mastering the art.

-   What is one fact that very few people know about you? I write poetry

-   Outside of surgery, what are you best at? Husband, uncle, friend… I can do DIY and cook as well!

-   Who, within the field of healthcare, do you admire most? Those individuals who achieve their goals and remain humble and realistic. Some senior Neurosurgeons come to mind

-   Away of all of this, how do you relax and switch off from the working day? Spending time with my family, jogging is a passion, reading and watching movies. Also love long walks and playing with my dog, Oscar.

 

Irfan Malik

-   What was the defining moment you decided to be a doctor? I have wanted to be a doctor for as long as I can remember!

-   What do you enjoy most about being a neurosurgeon? The ability to really make a difference to patient’s lives. When the come to my clinic with crippling pain or unable to walk and I can help to change that makes me love this job.

-   What is one fact that very few people know about you? I used to be quite a good spin bowler!

-   Surgery aside, what are you best at? I love playing cricket but I don’t know if I’m that good at it!

-    How do you relax and switch off from the working day? I love walking, I go to the Scottish Highlands with my family – the scenery is so beautiful.

 

Meet David Bell – the karaoke star!

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-   What was the defining moment you decided to be a doctor? When my father’s business partner died of pancreatic cancer aged 43.

-   What do you enjoy most about being a neurosurgeon? The interaction with patients, the complexity and the variety of our work.

-   What is one fact that very few people know about you? I enjoy karaoke from the Great American Songbook!

-   Outside of being a surgeon, what are you best at? Golf

-   Who, within the field of healthcare, do you admire most? Atul Gawande, author and surgeon.

-   How do you relax and switch off from the working day? Time in the countryside with my wife and children.

 

Get to know Sinan Barazi

-   What was the defining moment you decided to be a doctor? When my dad told me that I wasn’t allowed to do PPE at Oxford, I had to do medicine – a very good choice in the end!

-   What do you enjoy most about being a neurosurgeon? The diversity of pathology and treatment options. Also, my colleagues who are much more friends than colleagues.

-   What is one fact that very few people know about you? I actually have lots of hair - I just choose the shave my head!!

-   Who, within the field of healthcare, do you admire most? I mostly admire the healthcare workers who work way beyond their contracted hours, who don’t make a big deal of it and who are unfortunately not given the recognition they deserve.

-   Outside of all of this, how do you relax and switch off from the working day? I run, cycle, read history and hang out with my kids!

 

Meet Sanj Bassi – 80’s music fanatic!

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-   What was the defining moment you decided to be a doctor? I spent quite a lot of time in hospital as a child. Seeing how the doctors worked and how they had an impact on their patients’ lives meant that I knew from about age 6 onwards that’s what I wanted to do too.

-   What do you enjoy most about being a neurosurgeon? The patient contact and interaction.

-   What is one fact that very few people know about you? I have encyclopaedic knowledge of 80’s music, particularly new romantic.

-   Outside of surgery, what are you best at? Losing in the annual Bassi family downhill skiing race to my four sons – even the 10 year old beats me now!

-   Who, within the field of Healthcare do you admire most? Vets – the greatest skill is to diagnose and treat animals who cannot vocalise their problems - one day it’s a parrot, next day it’s a dog!

-   How do you relax and switch off from the working day? Enjoyment of music including playing some tunes on the saxophone!

 

The piano playing salsa dancer - Professor Ashkan!

-   What was the defining moment you decided to be a doctor? Aged 5 when learned about how doctors could relieve pain and suffering from a family friend who then was a trainee doctor.

-   What do you enjoy most about being a neurosurgeon? It is a privilege to have the trust of others to place in my hand their most precious self, namely their mind and brain.

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-   What is one fact that very few people know about you? I did a music degree and diploma alongside my medical training!

-   Surgery aside, what are you best at? Music – listening to it, playing it and dancing to it!

-   Who, within the field of Healthcare do you admire most? Professor AL Benabid, the father of modern neuromodulation surgery. I had the honour of doing my fellowship with him almost 15 years ago before he retired from clinical practice in France. He is an amazing man who should be on course for a Nobel prize, a true human being and a gentleman.

-   Outside of all of this, how do you relax and switch off from the working day? I don't! Neurosurgery is my life and hobby so I don’t really see it as work!

 

Introducing Nick Thomas!

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-   What was the defining moment you decided to be a doctor? It was my father’s strong influence, he was a GP. I never ever considered any other profession from the age of 8.

-   What do you enjoy most about being a neurosurgeon? It’s always challenging and I learn every day. It is one of the best professions to teach oneself humility and humanity.

-   What is one fact that very few people know about you? I very much enjoy fly fishing.

-   Outside of being a surgeon, what are you best at? A family man and loyal friend.

-   Who, within the field of Healthcare do you admire most? I admire my colleagues who are constantly around to help. The job can be demanding so cohesive and collaborative work is crucial.

-   Outside of all of this, how do you relax and switch off from the working day? I enjoy time with family, friends, good conversations, good food and a nice glass of wine!

 

-   Want to get to know the London Neurosurgery Partnership better? Join us at a lecture that they will be speaking at next… https://www.londonneuroscienceacademy.org/courses/

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