New medical director announced at Gorleston hospital

Hazel Stuart, medical director at the James Paget University Hospital. Photo: JPUH

Hazel Stuart, medical director at the James Paget University Hospital. Photo: JPUH - Credit: JPUH

A Great Yarmouth born and bred consultant who has travelled the world and had a diverse career has been appointed as new medical director at the James Paget University Hospital.

Hazel Stuart has been appointed as current medical director Nick Oligbo prepares to step down this month.

Dr Stuart, who has been deputy medical director at the hospital since 2013, was successful following an application process, which also involved a number of external candidates, thanks to her extensive knowledge and experience across a range of specialist areas.

Born in Great Yarmouth general hospital, both of Dr Stuart's parents were local GPs, giving her an early insight into medicine and the demands placed on doctors. She went to Great Yarmouth Grammar School and began her medical career at the James Paget Hospital in 1981 as a nursing auxiliary, prior to going to medical school.

Starting at St George's hospital in London, and successfully qualifying in 1987, Dr Stuart's work then saw her training in obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics and emergency medicine, giving her a wide range of skills.

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She had always wanted to travel and made her way to Brisbane in Queensland, Australia, where she did a year of 'a bit of everything' including surgery and medicine. Following this she completed Country Relief – an Australian outback posting which sees one doctor covering hundreds of square miles and responding to everything from births to traumatic injuries and those who may require single-handed resuscitation.

After her Australian experience, she returned to St George's in London, underwent anaesthetic training with an interest in intensive care, and carried out registrar jobs on a south-west Thames rotation which saw her working in Worthing, Chichester and Chertsey.

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Dr Stuart was appointed as consultant anaesthetist at the James Paget in 1999, specialising in anaesthesia and intensive care medicine, returning to her local roots. She then held a number of positions before becoming deputy medical director five years ago.

She will now join the board of directors at the trust.

Dr Stuart said: 'I am looking forward to taking up this new role, and continuing to work with the dedicated and talented staff of the James Paget through the challenges ahead, as we strive to provide the best care for our patients.

'There are currently massive challenges for the NHS, not just financial, but linked to recruitment and technology as well as changes in medicine too. There are no simple answers but, as medical director, my role is to keep in mind the strategic bigger picture while not losing sight of the medical, financial, performance, HR and governance parts of the job and the day to day issues that affect our patients and staff.'

Away from work, Dr Stuart has been married for 12 years and loves sailing, campanology (the practice of bell-ringing), classic cars, travelling, wildlife watching, skiing and walking Border Terrier Tom.

Christine Allen, James Paget chief executive, added: 'I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Nick for his significant contribution for the last five years and I am delighted to be able to welcome Hazel Stuart to the role. I am sure she will do a great job providing the clinical leadership and drive to support our medical workforce to encourage and facilitate innovation to meet needs of the changing NHS.'

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