Professor Gatrad OBE qualified from the University of Leeds in 1971 with Honours in Anatomy and immediately joined the NHS and over 40 years later is still in this health system.
His first posting was in Wakefield at the Pinderfields General Hospital. He obtained experience in General medicine, surgery and obsteatrics before embarking on a career in paediatrics.
His postgraduate training was in the North West region of England where he worked at the Manchester children’s Hospital for 3 years and subsequently at St Mary’s Hospital. He deliberately did not want to take up a substantive consultant post without wide experience of paediatrics and therefore ‘rotated’ through various specialties – growth/endocrines, diabetes, chest diseases, skin diseases/psychiatry – for a minimum of 6 months, except cardiology (heart diseases) where he spent 2 years and newborns (1 year). He also obtained experience in renal and neurological diseases during his stay in Manchester.
In 1978 an opportunity arose to go to Malawi (Africa). Here he was a Medical Director at the Mlambe Mission hospital in Lunzu, where he gained vast knowledge of tropical medicine and operative surgery, particularly caesarean sections.
In 1983 after being appointed to the Manor hospital as a consultant his main job was to decrease the mortality in new born babies which he halved over 5 years with the help of his and the maternity team. Many years later this was recognised as one of his major contributions towards his Freedom of the Borough of Walsall.
In spite of a young family and fulltime clinical commitment which included a 1:3 rota of night work with full time daytime work, he undertook a PhD on growth of children and completed it within 4 years. He was appointed as a Clinical director of Paediatrics in 1998 – a year in which he was also appointed Professor of Paedaitrics and Child Health by the university of Kentucky (USA) and 2 years later was to be awarded the UK Clinical Tutors Award of the year.
For improving access for children into hospitals and improving care of ethnic minority children through (amongst other innovations) provision of a paediatric assessment unit (one of the first in the country) he was awarded the OBE by the Queen in 2001. During his early years and for the work in low income countries he met Tony Blair, Cherie Blair, Princess Diana, various health ministers including Patricia Hewitt, Frank Dobson and Lord Hunt.
He has done a lot of research and produced well over 80 papers in peer reviewed journals. These were mostly with Aziz Sheikh, a professor of paediatrics at the university of Edinburgh. With Aziz he also co-authored 2 text books – caring for Muslim Patients (Forword by HRH Prince of Wales) and palliative care for minorities – Hindu, Muslims and Sikhs (forward by Sir Liam Donaldson – Chief Medical Officer).
In 2006 took on the mantle of the postgraduate tutor at the Manor Hospital in Walsall, which gave him the opportunity to amalgamate medical, nursing and Trust education – a task which many other had failed to achieve. He was subsequently made president of the West Midland Paediatric society which he relinquished in 2008. He was initially awarded the B award by the National Excellence Awards committee, and subsequently 3 year later a Silver – a level which has not as yet been achieved by any consultant at the Manor Hospital.
He has been on various national committees including the Ethics Committee of the Royal college of Paediatrics where he was one of the authors of the national guidance document ‘Witholding and withdrawing treatment in children’. He has also been a senior postgraduate examiner to the Royal college of Paediatrics and Child health. In 2010 he was appointed Professor of Paediatrics and Child Health by the University of Wolverhampton.