Sutton Coldfield born Stuart Southgate has travelled far and wide with his career as a Therapy Radiographer – but the opening of a new local cancer treatment centre has brought him home to roost. The 32-year-old, from Boldmere, is embarking on a new role as centre manager and lead radiographer at the new CancerPartners UK treatment centre, which is located on the site of Spire Little Aston Hospital.
“I studied at Bishop Vesey and played rugby a lot so I always thought I wanted to get into physiotherapy. However, when I started to look at the options, I felt I had a lot to offer the healthcare industry in terms of my personality and interests and so decided to look at other roles. I then came across radiography and decided that therapeutic radiography sounded suited to my skills. I’m a compassionate person and this route allowed me to work closely with people and forge relationships with them throughout their treatment journey.
“I studied for my degree at Sheffield Hallam University and got my first job at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. After moving around a little within hospitals in the Midlands, I decided I wanted to broaden my career options and worked with a radiotherapy equipment manufacturer, training radiographers across the world to use the equipment. This took me to Russia, Australia, Norway, Turkey and the Czech Republic – to name a few!” he added.
Stuart relished his time travelling but ended up coming back to the UK and trained the staff of CancerPartners UK at their other three centres. When he found there would be a fourth centre constructed in his hometown, it was too good an opportunity not to pursue.
“When I heard about a centre being built in here in Sutton Coldfield I knew I wanted the job of centre manager. It allows me to combine all of my experience to help train and develop young radiographers and be part of the bigger picture through the direction of patient care. I love being part of a multi-disciplinary patient care team – which involves working with other healthcare professionals – and the marketing and business side of things really interests me too.
“To anyone who is interested in working within the healthcare profession and being involved in patient care I’d recommend this as a great route to take. It can literally take you around the world and can be so fulfilling and rewarding. My advice to anyone entering the industry is to stick to your guns and don’t accept the phrase “we do it like that because that’s the way we’ve always done it”. Challenge processes you believe could be improved and don’t be afraid to put forward new ideas. I would also recommend moving around and experiencing different places and radiotherapy centres – your career can really benefit from a little variety and diversity. The people we help are the centre of our world and caring is an essential ingredient if you are thinking of becoming a therapy radiographer”.
The CancerPartners UK treatment centre is located on the site of Spire Little Aston Hospital and is part of a joint venture to bring the latest in cutting-edge radiotherapy treatments to people in the West Midlands and beyond. The partnership is also spearheading a campaign to raise awareness of radiotherapy treatments as a viable and a successful way of accurately targeting cancer tumours – since only around 10 per cent of patients who would benefit from this type of radiotherapy are receiving it.
Read more about cancer treatments available at Spire Little Aston Hospital, Sutton Coldfield