Geoff Macleod, one of Royal Surrey’s non-medical endoscopists, celebrates 50 years working at the Trust this month. And although he’s reducing his hours, his innings is definitely not over.
Geoff’s career at the Trust began when he joined on 6 September 1971. As a student operating department practitioner (ODA), Geoff worked as part of a small team of seven staff in both St Luke’s and at the old Royal Surrey Hospital, based in Farnham Road.
In 1974, the Guildford bombings hit the centre of town and newly qualified Geoff was one of the first medics on the scene, arriving at speed in his Mini Cooper to help those injured in the blast.
In 1982, he was one of a group of staff who greeted the Queen at the official opening of the new Royal Surrey Hospital.
Originally, the Endoscopy Department was based in a cupboard room between theatres four and five and the team’s equipment was provided by the GUTS Charity. Geoff and other colleagues were quick to join the charity’s fundraising efforts to help buy new equipment.
Geoff’s other charity work saw him travelling to El Salvador, performing endoscopies and helping to teach and train local staff and also working in surgical field hospitals in war torn countries.
In 2005, Geoff was encouraged by Dr Christopher Tibbs (former Medical Director), and then new arrival at the Trust, to carry out endoscopies independently, rather than assisting. He undertook the required training and became a dedicated non-medical endoscopist. To date, Geoff has carried out just under 20,000 colonoscopies, over 15,000 gastroscopies and nearly 3,000 flexible sigmoidoscopies.
Andrea Scala, Consultant Colorectal Surgeon, said: “We are incredibly proud of Geoff’s achievements at the Trust over the last 50 years. He is a fantastic colleague to work with, inspiring, hardworking, humble and very generous in his support for others. Geoff has shown immense dedication and commitment to the Trust and to his patients over the last 50 years and we are extremely honoured that he is keen to continue his services here.”
Geoff said: "I feel immensely proud to have been part of the NHS and the Royal Surrey for the past 50 years. I've had the honour of working with a great bunch of hardworking professional people. Through my work here I have been given some wonderful opportunities, both in the surgical field and in endoscopy. I have enjoyed going to work every day and currently I am only 90 patients short of my own goal of 20,000 independent colonoscopies. My advice for the youngsters is always adopt a positive work ethic and you won't go far wrong."