I have recently joined Head and Neck Oncologist Richard Gallagher in his private practice at St Vincent’s, Sydney, as an ENT surgeon with a special interest in Head and Neck. I see general ENT (ear, nose and throat) patients, head and neck patients, and also work with Richard to care for the increasing number of long term St Vincent’s head and neck cancer survivors who require ongoing review after their initial treatment.
Richard has been mentoring me for more than three years. I spent my final year of training at St Vincent’s, I completed the inaugural St Vincent’s Head and Neck Surgery Advanced Surgical Fellowship in 2018 and I have worked for more than a year as a locum in Richard’s practice. It is an honour to work alongside someone with his level of skill and passion.
Richard and I spend a lot of time together on the St Vincent’s Health campus. We both consult on a Tuesday morning prior to attending the St Vincent’s Head and Neck Cancer Multidisciplinary Team at The Kinghorn Cancer Centre, we are often in the operating theatre together for complex cases at St Vincent’s Public Hospital, and throughout the week we also attend pathology, M&M, and radiology meetings. We also round together a couple of times a week.
Richard and I are both members of two St Vincent’s surgical groups in the private and public hospitals; the Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Department, also known as ENT or Ear, Nose and Throat, and the Head and Neck Cancer Service. There are many advantages for both Richard and I, our practice team, and our patients by sharing our practice. We;
- Confer on difficult cases whilst still retaining our autonomy
- Care for one another’s patients in both St Vincent’s Private and St Vincent’s public hospital when the other is away or unavailable
- Work as co-surgeons on highly complex cases
- Share patient records, a major advantage during an emergency
- Refer to one another when appropriate
- Combine our expertise for research and publication, particularly regarding adult airway reconstruction
- Ensure that our expanding list of cancer survivors can be monitored at appropriate intervals without being at the mercy of one surgeon’s availability
Caring for cancer patients also takes its toll on clinicians, and Richard and I are able to support one another through the highs and lows of professional practice.
You can learn more about how we work together by visiting our joint Facebook page @HeadNeckEnt Dr Richard Gallagher and Dr Brett Leavers.