A NUCLEAR medicine consultant who spent most of his working life at the hospital where he was born, is swapping Bradford for the jungle.
Mike Avison who has retired after more than 25 years at Bradford Royal Infirmary has lined up plenty of adventures to keep him busy, including a trip to Cambodia and then on to Laos to see elephants and gibbons in the wild.
Dr Avison’s solo trip this month will also include him catching up with his oldest daughter Zoe, 24, who is working for the Mekong River Commission, in Cambodia.
Colleagues at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust organised a special farewell lunch for him before he left, not for the first time.
He started work with the Trust in 1985 but left the first time round in 1990 to go and live in Saudi Arabia with his nurse wife Anila for six years combining work in Riyadh and Jeddah with travel.
“MRIs were just taking off and the Saudi hospitals had some great equipment to learn on. The work life balance was also incredibly good initially and I really enjoyed exploring the desert and spent time scuba diving too.”
However, with the Gulf War and a deteriorating security situation, the couple decided it was time to return home and Mr Avison went back to Bradford Royal Infirmary where he stayed until his retirement last month.
Nuclear medicine is a branch of medical imaging that uses small amounts of radioactive material to diagnose, determine and treat a variety of diseases, including many types of cancers, heart disease and neurological disorders.
When he graduated from Lancaster University with a physics degree, his first job was at the Western General in Edinburgh where he worked in radiation protection.
“When I graduated, the jobs were either in health or making nuclear weapons but I chose health!” he said.
Mr Avison’s role has covered all nuclear management across the Trust. He was responsible for implementing new 1985 regulations which removed crown immunity from the hospitals and put them under the authority of the regulatory bodies,
He said: “I will miss my friends at BRI. It has been a great place to work – with the friendliest and most efficient people you could wish to meet. It’s remarkable to think that I have spent the overwhelming majority of my working life about 100 feet from the place where I was born!”
As well as spending his retirement travelling he also plans to pursue his love of flying microlights, and spend more time with his wife and two daughters, Zoe and Sophie who is 22.
He retired on February 28.
After six years at BRI, specialising again in radiation protection, where he was responsible for implementing the ‘new’ 1985 regulations which removed crown immunity from the hospitals and put them under the authority of the regulatory bodies, Mike spent six years in Riyadh and Jeddah, where he and his nurse wife Anila, combined work with travel.
Mike added: “MRIs were just taking off and the Saudi hospitals had some great equipment to learn on. The work life balance was also incredibly good initially and I really enjoyed exploring the desert and spent time scuba diving too.”
However having experienced the first Gulf War and with a deteriorating security situation, Mike felt it was time to return home.
He has seen many changes over the years in his role which covers all nuclear management across the Trust, including the move away from recording information from gamma cameras on film to computers. A gamma camera scan is a physiological measurement test which normally involves the injection of a radioactive drug followed by images capturing the distribution of that drug within the body.