Here’s a warm welcome to Mr Nikhil Nanavati, the latest consultant to join St Hugh’s Hospital.
Mr Nanavati is an award-winning Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon specialising in foot and ankle surgery, with particular expertise in sporting injuries, keyhole surgery and complex foot deformity correction.
And thanks to him coming on board, St Hugh’s will be one of only a handful of hospitals in the country now able to offer keyhole surgery specifically for foot and ankle conditions.
He took some time out to chat with us about his background and career, including a trauma fellowship in Malawi, Africa …and 5am starts!
What made you choose this career path, and the areas you specialise in?
I realised that I really enjoy chatting with and meeting new people, fixing their problems and improving their quality of lives. I am really lucky that I have been able to embark upon a career in orthopaedic surgery – it allows me to achieve all of these things.
An interest in foot and ankle surgery came naturally to me as there are so many pathologies that can affect the feet. Being able to keep people walking, improving their pain and ensuring people can wear shoes are three critical principles to my practice.
What do you enjoy best about your work?
There are so many aspects to my practice which I thoroughly enjoy – meeting patients, working with staff and colleagues and operating in theatre. If I had to pick one, I would say operating because it’s a set of skills that I have developed by dedicating my life to the profession. I treat people in order to improve their quality of life.
What has been your proudest professional moment so far?
I’ve had a lot of proud moments during my career so far. I ranked 11th out of 600 applicants in the country for my orthopaedic entry training exam, won awards for my innovations in surgery to improve the care of patients with hip fractures and I completed a four-year master’s degree in Orthopaedic Engineering. I’ve also recently written a chapter for a globally renowned textbook called ‘Essentials in Foot and Ankle Surgery.’
However, my proudest professional moment was completing a trauma fellowship in the third poorest country in the world, Malawi in Africa. I was able to develop highly specialist skills in managing complex conditions with limited equipment, and also spent time teaching junior doctors and surgeons from around the country about principles of surgical practice in the UK.
My time there made me realise how lucky we are to live in a society with access to world class healthcare. I travelled out there alone while my wife was expecting our first child and arrived back in the UK one week before she gave birth. She says I was lucky, but I call it good timing 😉
How has working in the Covid-19 pandemic been for you?
It has been extremely tough for a lot of people in many different ways. I have been extremely proud to see how well my colleagues across the country pulled together in a time of need, given the pressures that the NHS has been facing.
For me personally, it was difficult to see my patients having to struggle with their pain because of limited access to healthcare and an increase in hospital waiting lists. One of the great things about St Hugh’s is that it’s a Covid-safe Super Green Site and able to provide a highly efficient service for our patients.
What benefits will your partnership with St Hugh’s have?
There is relatively limited access to foot and ankle services in this region, and by joining St Hugh’s I am looking forward to improving access to these services for patients here.
I have developed expert skills in managing foot and ankle conditions with particular focus on sporting injuries, keyhole surgery, bunion corrections and big toe joint pain.
I pride myself on gaining feedback from patients to ensure the service at St Hugh’s is running to the highest possible standards.
There is also access to onsite imaging, meaning patients don’t usually have to wait very long to have scans that have been requested in a clinic. X-rays are performed on the same day as clinic and are reviewed as part of a new consultation with all of my patients.