In 1999 there were two dedicated foot and ankle surgeons in London and orthopaedic surgeons working together as a group in private practice did not exist (other than the Shoulder Unit at The Hospital of St John & St Elizabeth).
In 2002 Orthopaedic people started talking about a chambers type arrangement for surgeons, so I arranged for my friend Dr Richard Newland (now famous for owning and training the Grand National winner in 2014) to come and talk to the orthopaedic surgeons at Guy’s & St Thomas’s to assess the feasibility and desire for such a set up.
Richard has a big brain and the word “No” and the expression “can’t do” are not in his vocabulary.
After two hours or so, where everyone argued, I drove Richard to the station and he said something along the lines of “that won’t work … but a Foot & Ankle Centre will.”
And so the concept of LFAC was born.
After visiting all the private Hospitals in London we decided that John & Lizzie’s was where we wanted to be. A small organisation without the corporate brashness of other hospitals and a hospital who saw us as an asset rather than a threat. I liked the fact that the profits we would generate would go to the hospice at St John’s which is a truly amazing place.
We were offered two dedicated consulting rooms and a cupboard as an office. I recruited the best foot and ankle surgeons who were emerging at the time and soon we were up and running, with what I believe to be the best Foot & Ankle team in London.
We now have our consultants working from seven different hospitals around London and despite the Pandemic we all survived, as did our business, which for many months was prevented from functioning properly by draconian restrictions imposed upon us. The office staff at LFAC were brilliant at coping with the changes and I am very grateful to all of them for not throwing in the towel!
So, in January, we celebrate twenty years of LFAC. Since that first clinic we have treated just over 55,000 new patients and made just short of 150,000 appointments. We have performed thousands of surgical procedures and our consultants have lectured all over the world and published extensively during those twenty years.
In January I won’t be singing the opening line of Seargent Pepper out loud but I will be singing it in my head. Before anyone thinks that I am equating the creation of LFAC with the creation of the Seargent Pepper album, I am not. I am, however proud of what we have achieved and what we continue to do and offer.