Parellel Sessions – Keynote Speakers

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Belford 150 Keynote Speakers >

We are very pleased to confirm the following speakers for the exciting parallel sessions from both the Scottish Government’s “Being Here” Rural Resilience Program & the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Viking Surgeons Club.

Listed below, in alphabetical order (click on “biography” for more detailed information), we are proud to welcome and present to you:

Avatar maleDr W Michael Bissett


Regional Medical Director,
North of Scotland Planning Group.


Angus CameronDr Angus Cameron

Medical Director, NHS Dumfries & Galloway.



Angus has been Medical Director in Dumfries & Galloway since 2000. Before that he was a GP in Biggar, Lanarkshire for 18 years – with a particular interest in input to the local Community Hospital, the BASICS scheme in the area, and also worked in the A&E department of the (now demolished) Law Hospital. His GP training was in Boston Lincolnshire, and he participated in an exchange with Boston Massachussetts, giving him a different and appreciative perspective on the NHS. During his time in Lanarkshire he was appointed as a Non-Executive to the Board, and this prompted him to undertake an MBA in Healthcare Management at Stirling University. In his spare time he has been a hill farmer, and used to run 2000 sheep over 3000 acres of hill ground in Northumberland.



Gill ClarkeDr Gill Clarke

Rural GP and Fellowship coordinator.



Gill did her GP training in the most remote practice in Scotland and then worked for nearly 20 years in Shetland, initially as a single handed GP on the West side and later as an Intrapartum GP in Lerwick.
Previously, she was the associate advisor in Shetland for a decade and chair of the AMC there for 3 years sitting on the Shetland Health Board for 2 years.
She has been the co-ordinator for the Remote and Rural fellowship for 2 and a half years and currently works as a rural GP



jim douglas 1Dr James Douglas
MB ChB, MD, FRCGP, FRCP Edin, DOccMed.

GP Partner, Tweeddale Medical Practice, Fort William.
Provost, North Scotland Faculty, Royal College of General Practitioners.


James graduated from the University of Aberdeen and came to Fort William in 1979 as a GP trainee to Tweeddale Medical Practice with an interest in Diving Medicine and research. He has enjoyed his rural GP career in so much, he has not moved for 36 years! Two of his children schooled in Fort William have gone on to medical careers in surgery and psychiatry and two are successful artists. He is Provost of the North of Scotland Faculty of RCGP and the longest serving GP in Highlands.

James has developed a wide range of clinical, research and educational interests which have reflected his clinical practice in the Lochaber community. His early publications were on diving medicine as the Underwater Centre in Fort William became the new world leader in deep sea diver training for the North Sea. Salmon Farming was established as a new industry for Scotland in Lochaber in the 1980’s and he wrote the first policies for occupational health in salmon farming. His MD thesis described a new cause of occupational asthma in a local salmon processing factory after detecting adult onset asthma in his patients. James established the Highland GP Primary Care research network and published on flu vaccination sero-conversion and flu diagnosis by nasal swab PCR which established the Scottish flu spotter epidemiology service. He has published on rural educational policy and gained an interest in international rural health as a member of the WONCA rural working party which has been the main advocate for worldwide primary care in rural communities. His current research interest is Lyme Borrelois as part of the European Space agency LymeMAP collaboration. These topics reflect his observations as a “GP clinical scientist” in a rural community.

He led the Scottish Government Remote and Rural Areas Initiative on rural health in 2000 which laid much of the ground work for current policy and he is a member of the current “Being Here” rural policy initiative.

His GP training responsibilities include the GP rural track and GP rural fellowship schemes which have improved recruitment to rural roles. He established the Highland Schools Medical Mentor scheme in the North of Scotland RCGP faculty to improve undergraduate access to medicine for rural pupils in 1996 with significant success in local people returning to rural careers.

James interest in medical history included leading the centenary celebrations of the 1912 Dewar report. This report was the world’s first government report on rural health and the chain of evidence and policy lead to the establishment on the NHS in 1948. Dr AC Millar was surgeon at the Belford in 1912 and a member of the Dewar commission. Dr Lachlan Grant GP from Ballahulish gave the suggestions in his evidence to the commission which prompted the founding of the state funded Highland and Islands Medical Service after World War 1. This became the “rural proof of concept pilot” which was used in evidence to the Beverage commission during World War 2 and the establishment of the NHS in 1948. It is curious that a Belford surgeon and a Lochaber GP can have such an impact on UK health policy on historical analysis by the professional historians in the Dewar centenary group!


Dr Leila EadieDr Leila Eadie

Research Fellow, Centre for Rural Health, University of Aberdeen


Leila received her PhD from University College London and her research interests include e-health and telemedicine, data mining and intelligent systems analysis, image processing and computer-assisted diagnosis. Her recent projects include Satellite Ultrasound for Rural Stroke and the EU Implementing Transnational Telemedicine Solutions project at the University of Aberdeen and the Current Risk breast cancer screening survey at University College London.



Frances HinesMs Frances Hines

Research, Development and Innovation Manager,
NHS Highland.


Working for NHS Highland, I am responsible for the governance of all research and development projects developed in or hosted by the NHS Highland Board. This includes clinical trials of drugs and devices, other clinical research, qualitative research, student research and many other activities. I also directly support funding applications and the development of protocols and new research activities. The need to develop new products and innovations within the NHS is a key focus of mine, and I have helped to develop a team of experts able to support such responsive and innovative activity through the Highlands. In addition, I teach on the R&D training courses our department provides and provide one-to-one training where required. I am keen to foster collaboration and cross-disciplinary working to maximise our resources and create efficiencies where possible. I manage or work alongside, directly and indirectly, a team of 13 research nurses, 4 research data managers, an SPCRN research coordinator, a research pharmacist, 2 senior pharmacy technicians, a research radiographer, an R&D accountant, and many other colleagues who take part in research in the NHS and partner institutions across the Highlands of Scotland.



Dr Ashish Stephen MacAdenDr Ashish Stephen MacAden

Locum Consultant in Stroke and Rehabilitation Medicine, Raigmore Hospital.
Honorary Lecturer, Centre for Rural Health, Inverness.


Ashish trained in Christian Medical College Vellore, India (MBBS, MD & DNB in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation), Hunters Moor Regional Neuro-rehabilitation Centre (SpR) and Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne (PhD). He worked in the rehabilitation medicine department of CMC Vellore, where, over the years he also helped set up services for Haemophilia Arthropathy, a clinical gait laboratory for Cerebral Palsy and one of the first Indian Brain Injury rehabilitation units. He was professor and head of a unit there till he moved to Raigmore Hospital, Inverness, to work in its Stroke and Rehabilitation Medicine departments.



Gordon McFarlaneMr Gordon McFarlane

Consultant Surgeon, Gilbert Bain Hospital,
Shetland Islands.



Gordon is a Consultant Surgeon in Lerwick, Shetland Islands. He graduated from Aberdeen University and continued training in general surgery in Aberdeen and Inverness, obtaining an FRCS in 1989. After a further 6 month post in Inverness as an orthopaedic registrar, he worked for 9 years as a surgeon in Chogoria, Kenya, a 300 bed rural church hospital. While there he undertook a ChM thesis on H. Pylori and gastric cancer.

On returning to UK, he spent 4 years on the West of Scotland SpR rotation in General Surgery, the last year of which was as a Rural Surgical Trainee with the North of Scotland Deanery. He was appointed to Gilbert Bain Hospital, Shetland in 2004. He is a Fellow of the College of Surgeons of East Central and Southern Africa, and a member of the Viking Surgeons club. He maintains an interest in rural surgical training and surgery in Africa.


gill mcvicarMrs Gill McVicar MBE

Director of Operations, NHS Highland.



Gill has a clinical background, first as a Nurse, training in Ayrshire and then in Renfrewshire as a Midwife. She has worked in both of those areas and in Argyll and Clyde, Glasgow and latterly in Highland. She gained a degree in Community Health Nursing at Robert Gordon University, and worked as a District Nurse and Community Midwife, before leaving clinical practice to take up a Quality Facilitator post due to a passion for continuous improvement, learning and development. She has a particular interest in whole system approaches and organisational development as well as exploring the application of programme budgeting. This led to further post graduate study in Health Economics at Aberdeen University.

Over the years, Gill has held several managerial posts and was pleased to have been appointed as an LHCC Manager at their inception, was a CHP General Manager and is now Director of Operations for North and West Highland. She therefore has a practical grounding in developing organisations and in primary and community care and has worked at national level on service improvements and development, including several years as Chair of the Association of CHPs and membership of the Shifting the Balance of Care Strategic Group. More recently, as part of the Highland Quality Approach, Gill had the opportunity to study lean methodology at Virginia Mason Institute in Seattle and is a certified Lean Leader, she is now progressing her learning and experience with a view to becoming an accredited coach.

She has a very keen interest in sustaining health and care services in remote and rural areas and in community resilience, which has led to her current appointment which has a strong focus on remote and rural communities. Gill is leading the Remote and Rural sustainability initiative on behalf of NHS Highland.


Ron McVicarDr Ronald MacVicar

Director of Postgraduate General Practice Education,
NHS Education for Scotland,
Centre for Health Science, Inverness.


Ronald was recently appointed Postgraduate Dean for the North Scotland Region. Immediately prior to this, he was the Director of Postgraduate GP Education for the North of Scotland region of NHS Education for Scotland, a wide-ranging role which includes some responsibility for rural medical training issues including rural-track GP Specialty Training and GP Rural Fellowships. Although he lives and works in the urban metropolis of Inverness he is a Skye boy and has a passion for rural areas, and supporting the rural medical workforce.


Iain MunroDr Iain Munro

GP Trainee, Forres, North Scotland.



Currently in final year of GP training in Forres. Graduated from University of Aberdeen having been part of the Remote and Rural programme, an 8 week attachment to the Belford stimulated an interest in pursuing a career in rural medicine. Undertaken all postgraduate training in the North of Scotland between Grampian and Highland including a further 12 months in the Belford Hospital. Interests include rural medicine, medical education and expedition medicine. Outside of work happiest when in the hills!


Dr Kerry RussellMs Kerry Russell

Associate Director of Regional Planning,
North of Scotland Planning Group.


Kerry started her career in the NHS as a midwife, and worked in various areas of clinical practice for sixteen years.

She worked as a Risk and Incident Manager for NHS Dumfries and Galloway before moving to NHS Shetland as Assistant Director of Clinical Services.

Kerry was then appointed as Programme Manager for Regional Sustainability in the North of Scotland, before taking up the post of Associate Director of Regional Planning in June 2015.



David SedgwickMr David Sedgwick

Consultant Surgeon (retired, formerly Belford Hospital, Fort William).
Basic Surgical Skills Tutor, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh


David graduated in preclinical medicine from the University of St Andrews before completing his medical degree at Edinburgh University in 1980 (MBChB). His surgical training was based in Edinburgh, the Lothians and Fife (FRCSEd 1984). Urological training was in the Western General Hospital, Edinburgh and Fife Hospitals. In 1992 he became a Remote and Rural Surgeon working in the Highlands and Islands when appointed as a consultant at the Belford Hospital, Fort William. He introduced laparoscopic surgery in to the Belford shortly after his arrival.He has been an ATLS instructor for over 20 years and Basic Surgical Skills Course Convenor for over 15 years on behalf of RCSEd. Retaining General Surgery in the RGH and establishing a training pathway for those committed to this in Scotland have become two of his objectives during the past decade. Recently retired he has been acting as locum Consultant Surgeon in a number of RGH’s as well as teaching BSS and trauma care in the West Bank and Rwanda. He is married to Frances and has 6 children.

We are particularly proud to welcome back this Belford “stalwart”, a true Viking Surgeon with 20 years of loyal service to the Belford. There is nothing he will not turn his hand to. The “advances” in MMC (modernising medical careers) and “Greenaway” effectively now prevent David’s kind from ever reaching consultancy. Modern UK training is unlikely to ever train his like again.



Beatrix WeberMiss Beatrix Weber

Consultant Surgeon, Gilbert Bain Hospital,
Sheltand Islands.


Beatrix is a keen traveler. Already as an undergraduate in her native North Germany she used electives to visit Malaysia and Ghana and took a year out to study in Austria. After house jobs in Bavaria, she moved to the south west of England for surgical training, reaching out as far as the Scilly Isles. This was followed by a year in Western Australia and 3 years in South Africa. Driving home from there took a few months. She finally qualified as a general surgeon back in Germany in 2003, but was keen to return as a consultant to the north of England. In 2012, the opportunity arose to become a Viking surgeon in Shetland. However, charity work in India or Africa still keeps her on the move.

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