Belford 150 Keynote Speakers

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Keynote Speakers:

Prof Derek BellProfessor Derek Bell.

President, Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.
Professor of Acute Medicine, Imperial College London.



As President of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, Derek’s term of office runs from March 2014 to February 2017. He is also the Director of the NIHR CLAHRC for Northwest London. Derek was appointed as the first Professor of Acute Internal Medicine in the UK at Imperial College London and was the inaugural President of the Society for Acute Medicine.

Graduating from Edinburgh University in 1980, he initially specialised in Respiratory and General Medicine, with an interest in Intensive Care, before subsequently developing his role in Acute Medicine. Prior to moving to Imperial College he was Associate Medical Director in Edinburgh. He has lead and designed several national programmes of work including two large national change programmes including the Emergency Services Collaborative with the Modernisation Agency.

His academic research interests relate to quality and organisation of care, particularly acute medical care, and the methods of delivery of care. He is particularly interested in patient flow and quality of care. As part of this work the team at the Centre for Health Care Improvement and research have supported work in Australia, Ireland and throughout the UK. Clinical interests include illness severity assessment, pulmonary embolism and pneumonia.

Derek has published in excess of 130 peer reviewed papers and has lead several policy document initiatives including the development of successful National Early Warning Score to support standardisation of care across the UK. Total research grant income over the last eight years exceeds £22 million.


Patrick ByrneDr Patrick Byrne.
GP & Consultant Physician, Belford Hospital.



Graduating from UCD in 1997, Patrick completely his GPVTS in Cambridge in 2002. He spent time as a GP locum and a Ship’s Physician before taking up a partnership in Ramsey, Cambridgeshire. Over the 10 years of both training and partnership, he was a Clinical Supervisor for the University of Cambridge. With a colleague he established a very successful revision course for medical students, they key message being that correct, concise and precise presentation of the problem was paramount in efficient and safe patient care (a skill GPs do at every consultation). He has published on the effectiveness of this method in student and trainee performance and confidence. This group, Finalmed, went onto establish national prizes for students and junior doctors in case presentation, where the shortlisted finalists would present to an independent panel of judges. Before they wound up the group, the course was being run in 5 venues across the UK and also in the United Arab Emirates, the profits of which were used to fund the aforementioned prizes.

In 2009, he moved to Fort William, Scotland, with his wife Sarah Prince (see below). There, a novel concept was being pioneered – namely a GP who had the MRCP and was willing to train up to the level of Consultant Physician & take part in a General Internal Medicine on-call rota, while retaining an active GP portfolio. This had not been tried before, but he achieved it in 2013 and currently appraises and revalidates in both roles. He is a supervisor for Foundation year doctors, and placement students for both the University of Aberdeen (surgery) and the University of Edinburgh (medicine). He examines for the Final MB exam for both universities. He examines for the MRCP PACES exam, and hosts it annually in Fort William. He has been invited to become an Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer by the University of Aberdeen. He is (reluctantly) undertaking a post-graduate certificate in Medical Education.

Patrick has been involved in the publication of 7 textbooks aimed at undergraduate and early post-graduate education and training, most of which are with the “Unofficial Guide to…” family. His role has ranged from author and contributor to senior clinical reviewer and finally, overall editor for the 8th book, currently in production. He has previously been asked to speak on various aspects of service redesign, business case development, commissioning, provision and management and motivational talks across the UK. Together with his wife, Sarah, they have published on rural issues and been invited as keynote and distinguished speakers to national and international medical and surgical conferences.


Garry Coutts, Chair NHSH.Mr Garry Coutts


Chair of the Board of NHS Highland.



Garry has been Chair of the Board of NHS Highland since 2004. In 2012, he was reappointed for a further 4-year term. In 2011, he was elected Rector of the University of the Highlands and Islands. He has served as an elected member of council for both Edinburgh and Highland Councils (separately), and it was in his role as nominated Local Authority Councillor that he first joined the board in 2002. In April 2014, he was appointed Chair of the Children’s Hearings Scotland (CHS) Board.

He is passionate about continuous improvement. He has led NHS Highland in investigating improvement methodologies that has resulted in its adoption of the Highland Quality Approach. The essence of the approach is to enable clinicians, managers, other staff and patients to focus on improving the quality of care in the confident knowledge that in doing so they will eliminate waste from the system that is expensive for the tax payer and, worse, harmful to the patient.

With integration and the Highland Quality Approach in place Garry believes NHS Highland is on the brink of a remarkable service improvement programme which will lead to a vastly improved care experience for people Highland.



Prof OJ GardenProfessor O James Garden, CBE.
FRCSCan(Hon), FRACS(Hon), FACS(Hon), FRCS(Hon).

Regius Chair of Clinical Surgery, University of Edinburgh.
Surgeon to the Queen in Scotland.



James Garden is Regius Professor of Clinical Surgery at the University of Edinburgh. He trained in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Paris in hepatobiliary, pancreatic and liver transplantation surgery and has practised over the last 27 years at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. He introduced laparoscopic cholecystectomy to the Royal Infirmary and undertook the first successful liver transplant in Scotland in November 1992.

He has led significant clinical, academic and service developments in Edinburgh and nationally. He leads a strong academic unit, has major interests in undergraduate and surgical education and secured the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for the University in 2013 for surgical distance learning initiatives and its global surgical outreach. He is Secretary of the James IV Association of Surgeons, is a Past President of the Association of Upper GI Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland, served as President of the International Hepato-Pancreatico-Biliary Association from 2012-14 and is currently Chairman of the British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd.

He is an honorary member of a number of organisations and has honorary fellowships of the Australasian, Canadian and American Colleges of Surgeons. He was appointed Surgeon to the Queen in Scotland in 2004, was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2013 and was made Commander of the British Empire in the Queen’s New Year Honours list in 2014. Honours this year include Honorary Fellowships of the Royal College of Surgeons of England (March 2015) and the College of Surgeons of Hong Kong in September 2015.

As the Regius Professor of Clinical Surgery, a post previously held by Joseph Lister, it was entirely apposite that Prof Garden delivered the public lecture entitled “Lister’s Legacy: 100 years on”, well worth 75 minutes of your life (below). In his introduction, Professor Sir John Savill, Vice-Pincipal & Head of University of Edinburgh’s College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine, acknowledges that, much like this biography, he too has barely scratched the surface of Prof Garden’s lifetime of work.

As if this wasn’t quite enough work to be keeping one busy, Prof Garden has been a continuous supporter of rural working, and was instrumental in the establishment of the surgical link between Belford & Edinburgh.


haslam-david 942EC785-B889-ABE6-B69251430F506160Professor David Haslam, CBE.

Chair, National Institute for Health & Care Excellence (NICE).



David Haslam is past-President of the British Medical Association, past-President of the Royal College of General Practitioners, visiting Professor in Primary Health Care at de Montfort University, Leicester, and Professor of General Practice at the University of Nicosia, Cyprus. He was a family physician in the rural fenland of Ramsey, Cambridgeshire, for many years and has been chair of the NHS Evidence Advisory Committee, an expert member of the NHS National Quality Board, and National Clinical Adviser to both the Care Quality Commission and the Healthcare Commission.

He is a Fellow of the Royal College of GPs, a Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health, a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Educators, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. David was Chairman of Council of the Royal College of GPs from 2001 to 2004, and was also a member of the NHS Modernisation Board, vice chairman of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, a member of the Postgraduate Medical Education Training Board, a member of NHS Medical Education England, a member of the Royal College of Physicians Future Hospital Commission, and co-chair of the Modernising Medical Careers Programme Board from 2006-9.

He has written 13 books, mainly on health topics for the lay public and translated into 13 languages, and well over a thousand articles for the medical and lay press. In 2014 he was awarded a Doctorate from Birmingham University (citation below), and also named by Debretts and the Sunday Times as one of the 500 most influential and inspirational people in the United Kingdom. He was awarded CBE (Commander of the British Empire) by the Queen in 2004 for services to Medicine and Health Care.



Dr Tyler HughesDr Tyler G. Hughes.

Consultant General Surgeon, McPherson, Kansas.
Founding Chair of the American College of Surgeons Advisory Council on Rural Surgery.



Tyler G. Hughes is a rural general surgeon based in McPherson, Kansas, a town of 13,000, with a surrounding county population of 30,000. He has maintained a broad general surgical practice for almost 20 years in McPherson, where he works with one other surgeon and is on call every other night.

Tyler obtained his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. He completed his general surgery residency and subsequently served as assistant program director and teaching attending at St. Paul Medical Center in Dallas. Since moving to McPherson, Tyler has served as a clinical faculty member at the Kansas University School of Medicine, working primarily with medical students. In 2009 Dr. Hughes was nominated for the school’s highest faculty award, and in 2010 received the school’s first Outstanding Preceptor Award.

Dr. Hughes has been active in the American College of Surgeons (ACS) since he entered practice, serving as Kansas chapter president in 2007. He has also served as an ACS governor-at-large, assisted with the development of the ACS case log system, and is co-editor of the rural surgeons community section of the ACS member portal. In addition, Tyler serves on the editorial boards of Surgery News and Selected Readings in General Surgery, has authored numerous articles for the ACS Bulletin, and served on other ACS committees at the national level. He has also independently developed a rural surgeons network, and sponsors an annual dinner for rural surgeons at the ACS Clinical Congress. In 2011 Dr. Hughes was a co-director of the rural surgical skills course held at Northwestern University as part of the ACS Rural Surgery Symposium.

In recognition of his “commitment to community practice, resident education and surgical quality”, the American Board of Surgeons (the national certifying body for general surgeons and related specialists) appointed him as an at-large-director of the ABS, choosing him from 65 candidates.

It is worth reading his fascinating article, “Rural Surgical Practice: A Personal Perspective” (skip to page 12). (This links to an ACS bulletin in pdf format.)


Dr Mike JonesDr Mike Jones.
MB BCh, PhD, FRCP Edin.

Consultant Physician & Clinical Director, University Hospital of North Durham.
Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer, Durham University.



A medical polymath, Mike has held many roles and posts. His initial training and first appointment was as a Consultant Nephrologist at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee in 1992. Over the next few years he progressed to Deputy Medical Director, e-health Director and Consultant Acute Physician. Spearheading the introduction of the emerging specialty of Acute Medicine in the UK, an appointment as Consultant Physician in Acute Medicine followed at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh in 2006.

Mike is a founding member and Past President of the Society of Acute Medicine. He is currently a council member of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh with responsibility for standards, and is the college’s immediate past Vice-President with responsibility for Education and Standards. He chairs the Specialty Advisory Committee for Acute Internal Medicine, the development of the 2009 (current) training curriculum, and is the National Clinical Lead for the ACUMEN e-learning project in Acute Medicine. During this time, with Brian Tregaskis, Mike guided innovations towards sustainable consultant-led services in General Internal Medicine (details of which will be presented at this conference).

In 2013, he moved to Durham to assume the mantle of Clinical Director of one of the largest hospitals in the north of England. He is an Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer at the School of Medicine, Pharmacy & Health, Durham University.


Mr John Kyngdon.

Medical Director & Chief Advisor at Bay of Plenty District Health Board, Gisborne & Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.



John is a Consultant General Surgeon with a very broad range of surgical practice and expertise. He is dually accredited with Fellowships from both the Royal Australasian College of Surgery and the Royal College of Surgeons of England. He is a true generalist with expertise in General Surgery, Breast surgery, Endoscopy, Varicose Veins and Skin Cancer Surgery.

John is ex-officio Chair of the NZ National Surgical Board of the Australian and NZ College of Surgeons. He sits on the National Chief Medical Advisors Group, the Division Of Rural Surgery of Australia and he was the New Zealand Convenor of the rural section of the 2013 Annual Scientific Congress of the Royal Australasian College of Surgery in Auckland.

John has used his various positions to lobby for high-quality acute surgical care, sustainable services, and patient safety.

Outwith his medical practice, John is an enthusiastic (and rather gifted) photographer. Using this as an excuse to travel the world, he has the ability to capture nature, travel, adventure, people, places and motion. We strongly recommend you view his galleries at his website – DeerVelvet.


elaine meadMrs Elaine Mead.
Chief Executive Officer,
NHS Highland.



Elaine took up post as Chief Executive of NHS Highland in January 2011 (after six years as Chief Operating Officer) taking responsibility for the delivery of the first fully integrated health and care system in Scotland. NHS Highland now delivers all acute and community health and adult social care services across the Highlands and health services in Argyll and Bute. This care is provided to a population widely dispersed across 41{17e90104c1dc5402e8215c55ea61e2d05456d8f635036bd9eeda30f5c57cf293} of the land mass of remote and rural Scotland, including 27 inhabited islands.

Prior to joining the team in NHS Highland Elaine was previously Director of Operations and Deputy Chief Executive of the West Dorset General Hospitals NHS Trust on the south coast in England, and has had over 30 years experience of working in both clinical and managerial roles across the National Health Service. Her background was as a Diagnostic Radiographer with experience in general, research and academic settings. She has also had opportunity to delivery of health care and screening in the private sector working for a number of organisations including the Harley Street Clinic, AMI and BUPA.

Elaine returned to the NHS to implement the National Breast Screening Programme for Dorset and then, having moved into management, secured a Masters of Business Administration gaining further experience in a number of integrated health and care systems across the UK. She is committed practitioner of Quality Improvement and is a certified Lean Leader. This year she was awarded a Fellowship the International Society for Quality in Healthcare ISQua.

Elaine is currently Chair of the North of Scotland Planning Group, bringing together senior leaders from three main land and three island health Boards to coordinate the delivery of services to a population of 1.1M people. She is also a member of the Scottish Cancer Task Force and Early Years Task Force representing NHS Chief Executives across Scotland, and is leading national work on Stream 1 (conception to age one) of the Early Years Collaborative, Transforming Out-patient Services and Radiotherapy Planning.

Elaine is a passionate ambassador for quality and has led the development of the Highland Quality Approach, committing NHS Highland to improve the quality of care to every person every day



Sarah PrinceMiss Sarah Prince
MB ChB, FRCSEd (Gen Surg)
Consultant Surgeon, Belford Hospital.
Hon Consultant Surgeon, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.
Hon Senior Clinical Lecturer, University of Edinburgh.




After Medical School in Birmingham Sarah trained in General and Hepatobiliary Surgery in Birmingham and then Cambridge. She always wanted to be a General Surgeon while retaining a specialist interest. With changes in the UK meaning that there are fewer places to practice true ‘General’ Surgery, she moved to the Highlands of Scotland with Patrick, becoming one of the first surgeons appointed to the Scottish Rural Surgical Fellowship. She took up a Consultant post in Fort William, one of the few Remote and rural hospitals in the UK where her practice covers a wide range of general, sub-speciality and trauma surgery. Since arriving in Fort William, she has been actively involved in not just clinical practice, but management & service redesign and delivery of all services in this rural hospital. She has published on rural issues and been invited as a keynote and distinguished speaker to national and international medical and surgical conferences around the world. Her interests include surgical education in rural practice and the breadth of general surgical experience this offers the trainee.

She is a supervisor for Foundation year doctors, GPST’s, core surgical trainees and placement students for both the University of Aberdeen (surgery) and the University of Edinburgh (medicine) she also arranges and oversees the elective placements. She examines for the Final MB exam for Edinburgh University where she has an Honorary Senior Clinical Lectureship. She is actively involved in the Edinburgh ChM and she writes, tutors and marks the rural modules for this.

Due to the changes and centralisation of certain aspects of elective surgical work Sarah has worked to create links with colleagues in the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh where she holds an appointment as an Honorary Consultant Surgeon. She is currently working on the next stage of this partnership.


Dr Brian TregaskisDr Brian Tregaskis.
MBBS, FRCP Edin, Dip Mt Med (UIAA).

Consultant Gastroentrologist & Clinical Director, Belford Hospital.
Medical Officer, Mountain Rescue Committees of Scotland.



Hailing from the People’s Republic of Cornwall, Brian graduated from Middlesex Hospital, University of London, ultimately heading towards Scotland for his Gastroenterology and General Internal Medicine training. His research interests included oesophageal disease, nutrition and dysphagia. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Collegiate Members Committee of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (now Trainees & Members Committee), serving on this and other college committees (Education, Examinations, Symposium) culminating as Regional Advisor for Highland in 2003.

With like-minded individuals, his interest in training led to the establishment of the United Examination Board of the UK, serving as Secretary of the panel and later Chairman of the written paper panel. Dr Tregaskis has variously been Clinical Tutor & CME Advisor for Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians in Southern Highlands, the Postgraduate Clinical Tutor for Highlands, & National panelist in Medicine & Gastroenterology.

He has been the Clinical Director of Belford Hospital since 2006, and a faculty member for the Diploma in Mountain Medicine since 2004. He is the current Medical Officer to the Mountain Rescue Committees of Scotland, advising on best practice and statutory responsibility liaising between government and rescue. Representing Scotland to the International Commission for Mountain Rescue (IKAR), he is responsible for the dissemination and production of internationally acceptable guidelines in mountain medicine.


georgios 2Dr Georgios-Ioannis Tsianos.
BA, MSc, PhD, MD.

GP trainee, Lincoln.
Ultra-Endurance Athlete.
World-record holder / setter / breaker.

Follow Georgios on Facebook



Georgios is an NHS doctor and an extreme environment physiologist. Born and educated in Athens, Greece, his high-school education continued at Pine Crest School in Florida, USA. He received his Bachelor’s degree in human physiology from the University of California at Berkeley, followed by a Master’s degree in human physiology under extreme environments at King’s College London. His Doctorate degree at the University of researched the limits of human physiology at high altitude and in cold conditions, during which he completed research projects in the Scottish Highlands, the European Alps and the Himalayas. Following the successful completion of his PhD, he returned to Greece to study Medicine at the University of Ioannina Medical School. He gained invaluable practical experience at hospitals in South Africa, USA and Greece, before the lure of the Scottish Highlands brought him to the Belford. From here, he moved to Edinburgh and thence to Lincoln where he currently resides.

Georgios has been involved in sports from an early age and has previously excelled in competitive swimming. He became Greek national champion and record holder and participated with the Greek national swim team in numerous international events, European and World championships. He made the transition to open water marathon swimming following his first exposure with the sport in the icy waters surrounding the island-prison of Alcatraz in San Francisco. In 2000 he completed the English Channel swim in the world’s fastest recorded time that year. In 2011, he became the first person in history to successfully complete an open water swim from mainland Greece to the island of Crete in the treacherous waters of the Aegean Sea – 101km in 28:16 hours (video below).

Georgios on the summit of Mt Everest!

Georgios on the summit of Mt Everest!

His passion for taking on the planet’s greatest challenges is not limited to water. In 2004, Georgios participated in the Greek national mountaineering expedition “Hellas Everest 2004”, as the expedition’s scientific advisor, high altitude climbing medic, and climbing member. He successfully ascended to the summit of Mount Everest, 8848m, becoming the first Greek climber ever to do so from the hazardous northern route in the Tibetan Himalayas. The final component of his brutal “Ice-Water-Fire” challenge comes in the shape of one of the most gruelling ultra-marathons, covering 250km in the Sahara Desert. The run, dubbed by the Discovery Channel as the toughest foot race on earth, is the Marathon des Sables. In line with his deeply rooted environmental awareness, Georgios undertakes the final challenge of his Ice Water Fire project in support of the Opwall Trust.

Dr Tsianos has worked in the fields of General and Trauma Surgery, Accident and Emergency Medicine, and General Practice. He is dynamically involved and certified in Expedition Medicine and Travel Medicine, and has held the role of medical doctor in climbing, trekking and diving expeditions. Alongside his medical duties he has long maintained his interest and participation in research. He is a firm believer of empirical research and to that extent continuously explores the limits of human ability by putting his body and mind to the test.

Aegean Sea Swim Crossing – Peloponnese to Crete. Georgios-Ioannis Tsianos from Dimitris Giouzepas on Vimeo.

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