Canary Wharf

With links to my Sheldon Genealogy pages and Whole Person Medicine


Life Story CV - Dr Michael Graham SHELDON

The purpose of this CV is to fiesh out the dull academic CV with a fuller story of my professional life, including some of the "why's" which never normally appear alongside the "what's" and "when's" in a normal CV. I am keen on the narrative approach to medicine, and so this is a similar approach to my working life.

I qualified as MB, BS from London University having studied at the Middlesex Hospital from 1959 to 1964. I was not a brilliant scholar having been seduced by the Stage (Christmas Concerts, G&S and Dramatic societies) as well as growing up and living close to several hundred beautiful nurses. At least I did marry one of these before leaving the Middlesex. I managed to wangle my two house jobs at the Middlesex - more by luck than brilliance. I then needed a complete break from London and the Hospital and so I ran away to sea with P&O. I did a fabulous round the world cruise on the Canberra and saw just about everywhere worth seeing. Of course I had proposed and been accepted a few days before setting sail and so I just did one six month cruise and then came home and got married.

On returning from my adventure I needed a job. I had been warned that if you disappeared off the treadmill you would never get a good job again. However I decided to visit the Middlesex Hospital and was sitting in the front hall wondering what to do when a surgical consultant called Keith Ross walked past. I had worked with him as the houseman when he was a senior registrar and he had just been appointed as a consultant cardiac surgeon at Harefiled. "What are you doing here Sheldon?" he said in passing. "Looking for a job" I replied. "Well I need a registrar at Harefield - do you want to come?" That was the interview completed and the next week I was settling in to Harefield Hospital as a cardiac surgical registrar.

After a year at Harefield I was invited to become one of the senior registrars in cardiac surgery at St. Thomas's. At this stage I had no surgical degrees and not very much experience to be honest - but I suppose my face fitted and I was a hard worker. In reality I was not cut out to be a surgeon, let alone a cardiac one, and after a year I went into research in cardiac flow studies at Imperial College. However I became less and less enthusiastic and one day my wife simply said to me - "Mike, you are not happy". I knew she was right and I had just been reading "A Fortunate Man" by John Berger, which described the life of a country General Practitioner. Within hours I had decided to go and become a country GP. With no training, and if I am honest knowing very litte general medicine within just two weeks I was starting in a practice in rural Northamponshire. I was indeed a fortunate man.

Then into General Practice - after 2 years I realised my educational needs and did two years as a registrar equivalent at Banbury Hospital to gain some medical experience. Then I went back into general practice by starting my own practice from scratch in the grounds of the Horton Hospital at Banbury: The Hightown Surgery is about to celebrate it's 40th birthday in 2013.

1965 House Physician to Professor A. Kekwick, Middlesex Hospital, London (General Medicine)
1965 House Surgeon to Sir T. Holmes-Sellors, Middlesex Hospital, London  (Cardio-Thoracic Surgery)
1966 Ship's Surgeon - P & O Lines  S.S. Canberra
1966 Surgical Registrar, Harefield Hospital, Middlesex  (Cardio-Thoracic Surgery)
1967 Locum Medical Registrar to Sir J. Richardson, Watford General Hospital
1967 Surgical Research Registrar to Mr. MV Braimbridge, St. Thomas's Hospital, London
1968 MRC Research Fellow, the Physiological Flow Studies Unit at Imperial College, London
1969 Principal in General Practice, Woodford Halse, Northamptonshire
1971 Medical Assistant in General Medicine and Geriatrics, Banbury District General Hospital
1973 Principal in General Practice, Banbury, Oxfordshire
1979-85 Senior Lecturer in Primary Health Care and General Practice, Department of Community Health, Nottingham University Medical School
  Hon. Specialist in Community Medicine, Trent RHA
  Principal in General Practice, Nottingham
1985 Open University Tutor
1985-93 Medical Officer - Youth With A Mission (YWAM), UK director of training
  Visiting lecturer to the Primary Health Care Schools in Uganda, Kenya, and India. Consultant to community health care and AIDS programmes
1993-99 Senior Lecturer (with honorary consultant contract with the Royal Hospitals Trust)
  Department of General Practice and Primary Care, St. Bartholomew's and the Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London
  Appointed in 1993 as the senior lecturer to the LIZ funded Inner City Lecturer Team.
  In 1996 appointed HEFCE funded full-time senior lecturer with responsibility for UG teaching.
  Appointed Hon. Senior Lecturer on retirement in 1999.
1999-2001 Principal in General Practice at the Mission Practice, Bethnal Green, This is one of the Barts and the London School of Medicine’s teaching practices
2001 - present Portfolio career with the GMC, other tribunals and developing Whole Person Medicine

In my early years (after a brief period as a ship’s surgeon) I decided to become a cardio-thoracic surgeon. However severe hay fever made operating difficult so I made the fortunate decision to go into General Practice instead. This was before the days of vocational training and after a short time in a rural practice I realised my lack of knowledge and experience in general practice. I therefore took a post as a general medical registrar in Banbury before starting my own practice from a Portakabin in the grounds of Banbury Hospital. This photo was taken in June 1973 as I started out with zero patients in my practice. Actually I had 5 patients on the first day - but that was my wife and children (don't tell the GMC!).

Me in 1973

Mike Sheldon 1973

This practice grew successfully and I was able to take on a partner after two years as a single handed GP. Because of my interest in medical audit and the use of computers in General Practice I was then offered the post of senior lecturer in General Practice at Nottingham University Medical School in 1979. Apart from being responsible for the undergraduate education in General Practice, I developed a research interest in decision making and computer-aided support in clinical practice.

In 1983 a serious accident took two years out of my career and made me examine my priorities in life. I decided to change to the provision of primary care in the developing world and so the family joined the medical team of Youth With A Mission. This took me to many different parts of the world, although most of my medical and counselling work was in Africa. I have assisted with: vaccination programmes on the islands in Lake Victoria; trained “bare foot doctors” in Ghana, the Philippines and Nigeria; developed AIDS community counseling in Uganda; and started both  counselling and community health-care projects in such places as the Philippines, Poland, Kenya, India, Uganda and Thailand. The project in Uganda is one I have continued to keep a close link with and I visit annually to develop Ugandan health-care workers in Jinja.

I decided to return to General Practice and an academic life in 1993 when I was offered a LIZ (London Implementation Zone) funded post at St. Barts and the Royal London School of Medicine by Professor Leslie Southgate. I was involved in running the LIZ programme as head of Department between the time Professor Southgate left and before Professor Carter came to Barts. I had a special interest in the homeless in east London.  Having worked on the development of the undergraduate teaching programme, when early retirement was offered I was pleased to move side-ways into one of the teaching practices where I became a principal again.

Throughout my career I have been interested in developing a more “wholistic” approach to medicine, and now run a Whole-Person Health Care Clinic within a GP surgery. This seeks to take patients with multiple problems and empower them to understand their illness and take more control of their lives through help with their beliefs and attitudes towards health. I have also, until recently, directed the Hanbury Community Project which attempts to rehabilitate recovering alcoholics and addicts in the city center.

I am married with 4 children and 9 grand-children. I am in good health, an allotment holder at Mudchute Farm, have a clean driving license and no criminal convictions.

Academic Experience
During my two periods in Medical Schools, where I was responsible for the under-graduate curriculum in General Practice, and during my time as a GP and Medical Director in Developing Countries, I have gained the following experience.

Under-graduate teaching
Within the Department of General Practice and Primary Care both at Nottingham and also at Barts and the London, I was responsible for the development and delivery of a significant portion of the curriculum to students in all five academic years. Over a period of 25 years I have personally taught on all types of activity, from formal lectures, through small groups to Problem-based learning. I have taught in the classroom, with actors and in the surgery. My last academic appointment was as Senior Lecturer responsible for UG teaching at QMW. 

Curriculum Development
My past responsibility within the Department was to develop the School’s curriculum for increasing exposure of students to health care in the community. This involved cooperating with the curriculum management bodies to develop, evaluate and consolidate new teaching initiatives expanding the community base of the curriculum. I have been responsible for the development of the course content, teaching materials and documentation for the third year and fifth year modules in conjunction with a management team under the direction of Professor Carter.  I have led the team recruiting new teaching practices, and overseen the institution of these new teaching initiatives.  I was leading a team on the accreditation of teaching practices, and participating in the creation of “learning environments” in General Practice through the installation of teaching and IT equipment in our practices.

Post-graduate Training
Over the three years 1993-6, in conjunction with Dr J Murphy, I developed a module on Health Informatics for the MSc course at St. George’s Medical School. Over my 40 years in General Practice I have lectured on numerous occasions to PG courses, although I have not been responsible for organizing one by myself.

Cross-cultural courses
I have personally devised and led six-month counselling courses in Uganda, in which local Ugandans have been trained to completely take over the course after a four year period.  This has given me insight and experience of setting up training courses in cross-cultural situations.  I have devised, led and lectured on short (100 hour) courses on counselling in Poland, France, Uganda and England.  I have taught on courses in Primary Health Care in India, Philippines, East and West Africa, and helped to develop Community Worker training programmes in Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana.

Project management
I am the honorary director of the Hanbury Community Project, in Spitalfields, London E1. This is a day centre programme for education and counselling to severely disadvantaged adults in East London, enabling them to find jobs and settled social situations.  We have a team which includes doctors, counsellors and adult educators and has a student body of around 30 full-time “students”, most of whom are ex drug or alcohol addicts. I have recently formed a new charity – The Whole Person Health Trust to build whole-person care within a primary care a setting.

Programme Development and Innovation
My natural inclination is towards innovation and pioneering. Throughout my career I have started new projects, and quickly learned that an innovator must encourage and support others to come alongside to maintain the projects created. At the last count I have started over 20 major companies, practices, organizations, courses or projects – most of which are still progressing successfully.

For just under two years I took responsibility for the Department of General Practice and Primary Care as acting Head of Department following the departure of Professor Southgate until the arrival of Professor Carter.  I have undertaken a variety of administrative duties within the Department under the direction of Professor Carter.  I have participated in informal workshops seeking to develop the community base within the curriculum.  I have led in the development of SIFT in General practice, representing the Department prior to the arrival of Professor Carter.  I was responsible for the administration of SIFT to General Practitioners.  I led the team for undergraduate education within the Department, and assisted Professor Carter on the Departmental executive.

Computer projects
When a research registrar at St Thomas’s Hospital in 1967 I first started working with computers, and learned to program in Fortran during my research year at Imperial College.  On entering General Practice I worked with the Oxford Community Health Project and worked on developing their coding system (OXMIS). I began to use the Oxford computer to computerise my own practice and began writing articles about the benefits and drawbacks of computers within General Practice.  In the early 1970s I began the first company to install computers in practices (Primary Care Computers), which soon went out of business due to unreliable hardware and inadequate software. In 1978 I was the RCGP representative on the Steering Committee for computerisation of FPCs.  I developed an interest in medical audit and later was a WHO advisor in Quality Assurance.

In 1981 I joined the British Computer Society (BCS) and with Dr Malcolm started the Primary Care specialist group of the BCS, of which I was the first secretary. I was awarded MBCS at that time, but have not kept up my subscriptions. I worked within the Royal College of GPs and in 1985 Norman Stoddard and I edited a book on General Practice computing for the RCGP. I continued in the field of research from my post as senior lecturer and head of GP teaching at Nottingham Medical School, specialising in decision making and information systems until I joined Youth With A Mission in 1985. After a period abroad I came back to academic life at St Bartholomew’s Medical School working on the Good European Electronic Record (GEER) with Professor Lesley Southgate. I also worked with Professor Mike Smith on the problems with the Y2K problems in the late 1990s.