Mr Neil Pearce
I qualified from medical school in Southampton in 1990 and have always pursued a surgical career with a particular interest in patients with complex problems. I worked in a range of large hospitals across the UK over the next 13 years before I became a consultant in Southampton in 2003. My interest in complex problems led me to specialise in liver, biliary and pancreatic surgery which is a field that provides many unique challenges to the surgeon as well as confronting patients with a range of conditions and treatments that are often difficult to understand and deal with. Over the next 10 years I operated on over 1000 patients with these conditions, helping to develop new surgical techniques and I was fortunate enough to be involved with many national and international organisations and projects.
Over the years I have learnt that life and health are not predictable for any of us and since 2011 when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis I have had to deal with my own unique set of challenging and complex problems. Taking inspiration from so many of my patients over the years I have not by any means given up on the good things in life or my career, however I have had to change my role within the team. Over the three years after my diagnosis I progressively handed over my surgical practice to Tom Armstrong and Arjun Takhar who have continued to strive for excellence and push the team from strength to strength. I stopped operating in March 2014 but I am still driven by the same interests and challenges that first led me into this surgical specialty.
My current active clinical role is to help with patients on complex pathways for advanced or awkward patterns of disease where decision-making can be extremely difficult and weighing up all of the options in an impartial manner can be very hard to achieve. I particularly manage patients with the following conditions: advanced pancreatic cancer, neuroendocrine tumours, secondaries from ocular melanoma, advanced primary or secondary liver cancers and patients with complex bile duct problems. Although I no longer operate I try to give patients the information and the time that they need to help them with decision-making. I also have an informal network of colleagues both within Southampton and elsewhere within the UK who I know and trust to give the additional specialist opinions and treatments that either I or my colleagues within the ocean clinic team cannot offer. If I do not have the particular specialist knowledge or experience to help you directly then I will not pretend that I do but I will ensure that I find the right specialist to give you the help that you need.
As well as my clinical role looking after my own patients I also have a much wider role within University hospital Southampton and Spire Southampton hospitals where I work as the associate medical director responsible for safety and ensuring that all of us are striving to achieve the highest standards of care that we can for all of our patients what ever their circumstances. I lead a team that reviews every adverse event, serious complication and death within both hospitals working with the medical teams in order to continually learn from these and improve the care that we give to future patients. I also do medicolegal work, although I limit this to the more challenging cases where my specialist knowledge is of greater value.
Outside of my clinical activity I am also involved with a number of charities. I am a founder of the planets charitable fund ( www.planetscharity.org )within Southampton hospital charity which has raised £500,000 over four years towards new treatments, patient support and research into pancreatic liver and neuroendocrine cancers over the last four years. I am a co-founder and the chairman of trustees of the OcuMel UK charity which has worked to improve outcomes and care for patients with this rare and aggressive cancer. I am a trustee of the NET Patient foundation which is a charity that supports patients with this complex cancer and promotes awareness amongst doctors and funds research. Finally I am also a clinical advisor to the pancreatic cancer UK charity, in particular I give them advice on novel treatments for pancreatic cancer.
Outside of my hospital and charity work I am fortunate to have a fantastically supportive family and friends that ensure that whatever activity they are all up to I can still be involved in some form or other whether it is participating or supporting despite my physical limitations. The best bit of any week is watching my boys play sports, particularly rugby which they both excel at.