The decision to leave the NHS was a huge one for me. The obvious benefits of working for the NHS for me were: flexible working, a great pension and of course, a huge amount of camaraderie. NHS colleagues in your team are almost like a second family. As the Lead physiologist in a tertiary centre (Harefield Hospital), I felt very much like the flag bearer, counsellor and mother figure.
I had always said to my team that I would not leave them for another NHS Trust and that much is true.
My first experience of ECG On-Demand was when I had taken a leap of faith and outsourced some Holter monitoring during the first lockdown of the COVID-19 Pandemic. This was a big turning point. I had always been of the view that ambulatory Holter monitoring from private companies was computer-generated or formulaic and almost sterile in reporting style. The difference here couldn’t have been more obvious.
The reports were clearly written by well trained and knowledgeable physiologists. You could see that there was a clear focus on quality but with a bit of individuality that comes with the way each physiologist writes a report. Much like you would see in any NHS cardiology department. We, as UK physiologists, have all been trained to a high standard and can correctly identify ECG anomalies. However, we all have slightly different writing styles. This was the thing for me that set ECG On-Demand apart from other companies.
So when the role of Clinical Director came up at ECG On-Demand, it caught my eye. And luckily, I was the successful applicant. When it came to meeting the team, I already felt that I knew them from their reports that I had received whilst at Harefield. It was really just a case of putting the faces to the names! I already knew that they really cared about the outcome for the patient. Any report that required urgent review wasn’t just left in your inbox, they phoned as well to let you know and to talk through what they had found.
The physiologist team at ECG On-Demand is very much like you would find in any large cardiac centre. There are currently 14 of us, some part-time, most full-time. We are from all around the UK and bring a vast wealth of knowledge from different hospitals. Some come from tertiary centres, some from large teaching centres. We all have qualifications ranging from SCST to IBHRE and all bring our own experiences and knowledge including; paediatric ECG/Holter, complex devices, inherited cardiomyopathies and all things in between.
Our clinical team is just like yours. We chat and laugh about anything and everything. We support one another and share difficult cases. There is always someone there to cast their eye over an ECG or a Holter for you if you are finding it challenging. We have weekly meetings, training sessions and interesting ECG/Holter review catch-ups. The only difference is, this is all done via video call.
The camaraderie, the team and the overall outcome for the patient are exactly the same.
So, it wasn’t really a ‘leap’ after all. I am now the Lead Physiologist of a team of amazing cardiac physiologists and I couldn’t be more happy or proud to have joined them all.