Further Information

Consultant Physician, NHS Fife and Honorary Professor, University of Edinburgh.

Description of career: 


As an NHS consultant in Medicine for Older People for twenty-eight years to date, he is first and foremost a clinician. He sees the doctor’s role in patient care as a privilege, believe that the teaching of medicine is a vital part of a professional life and that the traditional attributes of the physician, such as compassion, communication and clinical competence, remain paramount.

The focus of his work outside clinical care has been Medical Education. The Colleges’ examinations remain their most explicit standards and he is proud to have made many significant contributions to them in recent years through leadership roles for the College, the Federation, and the UK Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AOMRC), most notably as Registrar of RCPE, Medical Director of MRCP(UK), and Chair of the AOMRC Assessment Committee.

He has huge international experience, visiting more than twenty countries on behalf of the College or Federation in the past twenty years and establishing successful educational partnerships with colleagues in the Middle and Far East, Indian sub-continent, Africa, mainland Europe and North America. I have strongly supported international medical graduates in the UK through collaboration with the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin.

Since 2013 he has built collaborations with a number of centres in North America, most notably Stanford and Johns Hopkins, serving as a Visiting Scholar and Fellow at the former, where he has supported teaching and assessment of core bedside skills and co-founded the Society of Bedside Medicine to promote those skills.

He has learned and gained experience and expertise through NHS management, representative work for his specialist society, and advisory roles he held for the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, the Scottish Government, Hong Kong Health Authority and the UK General Medical Council.

In 2018-9 he was awarded a competitive Fellowship at the Centre for Advanced Studies of Behavioural Sciences at Stanford University and subsequently became the Presence Scholar at Stanford Medicine. He returned to NHS work in Scotland to run for Presidency of RCPE in July 2019.

Selected roles of relevance:

  • The UK Medical Royal Colleges - see below.
  • University of Edinburgh Medical School - Honorary Professor 2015; Director Clinical Finals; Deputy Head Final Year; Curricular Theme Lead. 2010-18.
  • Stanford Medical School - Visiting Professor; Presence Scholar. 2013 –present.
  • Stanford University - Fellow, Centre for Advanced Studies of Behavioural Sciences. 2018-9.
  • General Medical Council - Member Expert Reference Group, UK Medical Licensing Assessment. 2017 – present.
  • Educational adviser - RCR; RCOG; Royal College of Physicians of Thailand.
  • Other Visiting Professorships -University of Alabama (UAB); Washington University St Louis (WUSTL).
  • Hong Kong Health Authority- International Expert Adviser, Older Peoples’ Care Strategy. 2011-13.
  • Scottish Public Services Ombudsman - Quality Assurance and Hospital Clinical Advisor. 2008 – 2019
  • Society of Bedside Medicine - Founding Member. 2016 –present.
  • Sharing Good Practice (UK postgraduate assessment forum) - Co-founder. 2009 – 2018.
  • Scottish Government - Member, Independent Review of NHS Continuing Care. 2013 – 14; Member Cross Party Committee on Epilepsy. 2010–16.
  • NHS Management - Associate Clinical Director for Elderly Medicine, Lothian University Hospitals Trust. 1994-2004.
  • Specialist Society - British Geriatrics Society Scottish Executive and UK Finance and Policy Committees. 1999-2004.
  • Deanery/Local Education Training Boards – Asst. Director of Studies (Medicine), SE Scotland Postgraduate Deanery). 1996-2002.
  • Clinical skills teaching and examining - Taught/lectured on clinical skills in 14 countries. PACES clinical examiner, c. 1800 candidates since 1996. PACES Host and Chair of Examiners UK and internationally.
  • External Examiner – Singapore; Edinburgh (RCSEd and Queen Margaret University), Tripoli, London (Faculty of Physicians Associates); University of West Indies.
  • Peer reviewed publications – Over sixty papers.


Details of activity for RCPE: 

  • President RCPE March 1st -May 28th 2020 In this short time in office he lobbied government with regard to PPE provision and access to COVID-19 testing; led the College’s early response to the financial challenges of COVID-19; introduced, with colleagues, a highly successful weekly webinar on COVID-19 and led authorship of a Scottish Academy document on visiting at the end of life, that was subsequently adopted by the Scottish Government.
  • Medical Director, MRCP(UK) 2013-2018. Responsibility, under the governance of the Federation Board led by the three College Presidents, for strategic development and academic governance of all MRCP(UK) and Specialist Certificate Examinations globally. Led expansion of candidate numbers; new centres in India, Malaysia, UAE, Sri Lanka, Myanmar; collaborative “pan-European” Specialty exams; Equality and Diversity examiner training; commissioning of the MRCP(UK) Clinical Examination (PACES) 2020; reducing the length of the Part 2 Written Examination to one day.
  • Regional Adviser, RCPE (Elected) 2010-2018, Lothians, Borders and Fife.
  • Registrar, RCPE (Head of Examinations) 2004-2008. During his tenure a patient database was established in collaboration with Edinburgh University, and the Clinical Skills centre at his parent hospital, the Western General, Edinburgh became the world’s busiest PACES centre.
  • Member, Council RCPE 2004-2008.
  • Member, President’s Advisory Group RCPE 2004-2008.
  • Member, Lay Advisory Group RCPE 2004-2008.
  • Chair, Academy of Medical Royal Colleges Assessment Committee 2014 -2018. Led work on prevention of academic misconduct in high stakes examinations; reasonable adjustments for candidates with disability; feedback to candidates following examinations.
  • Chair, MRCP(UK) Clinical Examining Board 2008-2013. Responsibility for the PACES clinical skills examination globally. Led revision of PACES in 2009, diversification of examiner base.
  • Course Director, RCPE Annual International Course in Elderly Medicine, 2004 – 2018.
  • Chair, MRCP(UK) Specialty Question Groups in Geriatrics, Cardiology, Gastroenterology.
  • Member, MRCP(UK) Specialty Question writing groups; Part 2 written Examination Board; Part 2 Clinical Examining Board; Validation and Audit and Research Group.
  • PACES examiner/host/Chair, 1996 - present.