Get to Know Jonathan White, Consultant
Jonathan White is an experienced consultant orthopaedic surgeon based in Peterborough. We spoke to him about why he became a surgeon, advice for future surgeons, and why patient feedback is so important.
What inspired you to join the Medbelle network?
Medbelle provides the best treatment options for my patients, and the best overall experience for them. Having a Patient Care Adviser means they aren’t running in circles trying to speak to the right person when they have a question. Then they’ve got an excellent choice for post-op physiotherapy close to home. So my primary motivation was the improved convenience and experience for my patients. A few of them have told me unprompted just how wonderful Medbelle has been and how brilliant their Patient Care Adviser was.
Obviously your main focus is on the surgery itself, but it sounds like these other aspects of patient experience are also important?
They’re hugely important. Needing surgery can be a very scary experience for patients, there’s so much uncertainty, so having everything streamlined can really help to put them at ease - it’s one less thing to worry about. Having transparency and consistency around the cost is really important as well - giving patients peace of mind that they’re paying a fair price, and there won’t be any hidden charges. Ultimately all of these other aspects of support are about easing stress before what can be a very stressful experience.
How important is patient feedback to surgeons?
Very. At the end of the day we’re treating patients: whether the patient is happier and more comfortable is the most important thing. So things like PROMs (Patient Recorded Outcome Measures - questionnaires used before and after surgery to measure the impact on a patient’s comfort and quality of life) are really helpful.
But they can also be time consuming for consultants and our colleagues. To get the best results we need to seek questionnaires before and after surgery, and the results need to be recorded and put into a format where they can be analysed or compared. And patients understandably have other priorities so may need to be reminded, which is additional pressure on clinics.
So if there’s a way to have PROMs and other feedback collected automatically, that is ideal. One of the great things about Medbelle is the Patient Care Advisers. Not only do they improve the patient experience massively, they can proactively seek out feedback and PROMs from patients, sending them reminders at appropriate times and explaining why it’s so important. Then those results are automatically collated. So as a clinic we get the benefits of patient feedback without it taking up time that could be spent on patient care.
What inspired you to become an orthopaedic surgeon?
At medical school I just loved anatomy. Studying at University College London I had access to the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital at Stanmore, where I did my BSc in Orthopaedic Science. My first real experience of theatre was with Tim Briggs, who is a hugely influential figure in orthopaedics, and my initial job at the Royal Free Hospital was with a fantastic mentor. So all of these things influenced my love of orthopaedic surgery and made me certain it was what I wanted to do.
What I really love about orthopaedic surgery is the focus on improving quality of life for patients. Replacing someone’s hip or knee is very rarely going to be about saving someone’s life, but it is transformational nonetheless. Not being able to walk, work, exercise, or do any of the things you love is completely life-altering. Being able to give all of those experiences back to a patient is a real privilege as an orthopaedic surgeon.
Do you have any advice for students who want to be a surgeon?
Orthopaedic surgery is my passion, and it’s made the long process of training and qualifying that much easier. So I would say find something you are passionate about, something that makes you excited about going in every day and working really hard. I was also lucky enough to have fantastic mentors, and that can be really helpful. Ultimately it is a long journey to become qualified - it isn’t easy, there are lots of hoops to jump through and it takes a long time. So it needs to be something you’re really passionate about. And when you’re able to help patients improve their quality of life, it is absolutely worth the journey.
About Jonathan White
Jonathan White is a highly experienced consultant orthopaedic surgeon specialising in hip and knee procedures. Alongside his NHS role and private practice, he is leading the development and introduction of a Day Case Lower Limb Arthroplasty service at North West Anglia Foundation Trust Hospital.
He is also on the faculty of national FRCS revision/mock exam courses, including the Chesterfield Clinical Examination Course and the Sherwood FRCS Mock Exam at King’s Mill Hospital, and he regularly provides small group FRCS viva sessions for pre-exam candidates in the East Midlands rotation. Patients describe him as reassuring, patient and hardworking.
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