Alex Heazell, MBChB (Hons), 2000 | Senior Clinical Lecturer and Honorary Consultant in Obstetrics, Clinical Director of the Tommy's Research Centre, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre

Alex HaezellAlex is now Professor of Obstetrics at the University of Manchester. He has a mixed job and spends 40% of his time providing antenatal care and delivering babies and 60% of his time researching pregnancy complications and teaching. 

Please can you give a brief history of your career since graduating from the University of Birmingham.

After graduating in 2000 I did my foundation year (then called pre-registration house officer) in Dudley. I then did Senior House Officer jobs in Surgery and Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Dudley and City Hospital before becoming a specialist registrar in the West Midlands region. In 2004 I moved to the University of Manchester to complete a PhD in Obstetrics.  Since then I have completed clinical academic training to become an academic Obstetrician.

What do you love the most about your job?

I love the mixture of clinical care which requires immediate decisions and research which requires patience and dedication to get results.

How did your degree help prepare you for your career?

When I was at Birmingham I was most interested in primary care, and it wasn’t until after I graduated I became really interested in obstetrics, although I really enjoyed my block of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in the 5th year at Birmingham Women’s Hospital. I am really thankful for the communications skills and psychology teaching I had at Medical School because I draw on that every time I have to talk about difficult issues with parents. I am also very grateful for my statistics and epidemiology teaching because I use that a lot in my research role.

Why did you choose to study Medicine at Birmingham?

When I was looking at medical schools, Birmingham had an innovative and progressive course. I was really attracted by the early patient contact and the systems-based approach.

How would you sum up your time in Birmingham in three words?

Fun, Challenging, Surprising.

What inspired you most during your time as a student?

I was most inspired by my clinical teachers who put patients at the centre of what they did and had the energy to pass on their enthusiasm for medicine.

What advice would you give to people who are considering studying Medicine at Birmingham?

I have found that medicine is a rewarding career. It is really important to look beyond medicine or health care provision to think about how social and cultural factors impact on healthcare. Although I have enjoyed studying medicine ever since I first started in Birmingham, it can be a roller coaster ride, and it is so important to study somewhere that gives a breadth of knowledge and skills that will be useful to you.

How would you advise people to make the most of studying at Birmingham?

I would advise you to enjoy the multi-cultural nature of the city, to use the expertise available to gain experience in different fields and I would advise everyone to try to do a bit of research in their degree or career. You will always find a use for the skills you acquire.