Doctor Cusack – Executive Director of Northampton General Consultant Cardiologist – Northampton Hospital Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

September 04, 2017

Career opportunities for Consultants and good work life balance

Consultant Cardiologist Dr Cusack has been working at Northampton Hospital since September 2014. He joined the Trust from Wolverhampton, where he was a clinical director and led the Black Country Cardiovascular network from 2008 to 2012.

Dr Cusack had some managerial experience at Wolverhampton but wanted to progress into more of a managerial role. After looking for some time, he found the job with Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, as Medical Director.

He says, “I was interested in relocating to work with Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust not only for the new role but because they are looking for people who want to make a difference.”

He was struck by the sense of team togetherness, the desire for the Trust to progress and centre everything around quality improvement.

Prior to moving to Wolverhampton, Dr Cusack and his wife had lived in London for many years and then eventually moved when he took a role in Wolverhampton which had built a large cardio vascular unit.

Currently, he lives in Shropshire where he and his family had moved when he took the job in Wolverhampton. While relocation to Northamptonshire had been part of the plan, he didn’t want his family to have to move again.

He says, “I currently commute, which can be a challenge but I didn’t think it was fair for my wife to have to move again. However, I can do some of my job remotely, so I don’t need to be at the hospital full-time. In my last job whilst geographically it was not that far, they had a different mind-set, and at times, resisted that things could be done differently.”

Dr Cusack was impressed by the Trust’s approach to training on his first visit. He met Jane Bradley, deputy director and interim director of nursing who was involved in the patient safety academy and teaching various levels of junior students – he was ‘bowled over’ with what she had achieved and felt that this model could be replicated at other Trusts.

He believes that the size of the unit at Northamptonshire offers good career progression opportunities, particularly at Consultant level. The unit is ‘inclusive and they are keen to develop people’.

The Trust also started a new consultant’s programme last year and consultants are invited to meet their peers every couple of months and knowledge share, talking about their cases and how to get things done.

He says, “While there are some departments that feel like they have not moved with the times, there are opportunities for experienced consultants. For cardiologists, the way heart disease is managed has changed and I think the approach taken could work well in other specialist areas.”

Dr Cusack also points out that joining a smaller department is a positive thing.  He says, “Whilst joining a big unit in London is a cachet, you can find you are a single voice amongst 20 or so consultants. Joining a smaller, inclusive department who are keen to support and develop people is a big attraction.”

Dr Cusack finds his work life balance is much better now. He says, “In my last job, we ran the largest centre in the country and that meant night and day work, so there was no work life balance. I was often tired and stressed and I realised that this wouldn’t be sustainable in my 50s. Even with my commute, the work life balance is now much better.”

“Consultants work really hard here, but most of them are relatively well adjusted and have a reasonable work/life balance. I think for other consultants moving here your commute is short, if you live in Northamptonshire and you get the benefit of having pleasant colleagues who share the same views and want to make a difference.”

He added, “From what I know of Northamptonshire and the town, you can have a high quality of life here. There is a real mixture of countryside and town, and you can be out in green fields in 10 minutes from the town centre. The schools are also very good.”

Find vacancies at Northamptonshire Healthcare Foundation Trust here