Farewell from Professor Paul Booton
And so after 6 years of undergraduate education, 7 years of postgraduate training, 38 years of work in the NHS, 30 years in academia, 3 degrees, 2 fellowships, 1 professorship and finally 9 years with the National Migraine Centre I am finally going to retire.
To put it mildly, this is a big decision!
I came to the National Migraine Centre and had the benefit of learning under Dr Giles Elrington and the team of highly knowledgeable GP specialists.
I came as a generalist with what seemed a good working knowledge of headache medicine and some postgraduate neurology training. I quickly realised that I was working at GCSE level and needed to up my game to Master’s to cope with the breadth and complexity of patients the Centre deals with. Nevertheless, the basics of medicine remain the same: to listen to the patient telling their story and explore it in detail.
I remain enthralled by the miracle of communication by which through talking one can get a firm and detailed understanding of something taking place deep within the nervous system. And through this simple act answer questions that sophisticated modern medical tests like MRI scans often cannot answer.
It is been a pleasure over these years to work with consultant neurologists and GP specialists to provide a quality of care difficult to find anywhere else.
I am delighted to be leaving the Centre as it finds its feet again under our new Chief Executive and with a new consultant neurologist just joining the team here. Delivering healthcare as a charity is almost unique and certainly not a way to wealth and riches!
Our supporters and donors up and down the country who have kept us going (sometimes by the skin of our teeth) through thick and thin have allowed thousands of people to get help with what the World Health Organisation recognises as one of the most disabling conditions there is.
Retiring now will allow me to get on with some of my enthusiasms that work has kept me away from. I’ll have time for my allotment, designing and building stained-glass windows and endless tinkering with my bicycles.
I hope to continue to help the Centre in developing our education outreach to other medical professionals.
Perhaps finally I can thank all the patients I have met over the years who have taught me so much: I hope I have been a good learner.