UK surgeon appointed to neuro service

The second permanent neurosurgeon appointment has been made to the Dunedin node of the South Island Neurosurgery Service.

Reuben Johnson (38), of the United Kingdom, will take up his position as senior lecturer in neurosurgery at the University of Otago's Dunedin School of Medicine and consultant neurosurgeon at Dunedin Hospital in the middle of next year.

His appointment comes almost a year after the announcement of proposals for the new regional service providing for neurosurgery to continue in both Dunedin and Christchurch. It follows the appointment of consultant neurosurgeon Ahmad Taha in August.

Dunedin School of Medicine dean Dr John Adams said he was "delighted" about Mr Johnson's appointment .

He was a "high quality person" with a strong academic background.

"His impressive academic background places him well to help develop the school as a leading centre for neurosurgery teaching and research.

"His expertise in neurobiology also holds the potential for fruitful collaborations with neuroscience researchers in the wider university," he said.

Mr Johnson, who is in Italy undertaking a fellowship in minimally invasive spinal surgery and scoliosis (curvature of the spine) surgery, will also complete a further fellowship in skull base neurosurgery, with the university's blessing, before coming to Dunedin.

In an email statement, Mr Johnson said he was looking forward to joining the Dunedin team, in both the hospital and the university.

"This is a great opportunity to develop an internationally competitive academic neurosurgery department and provide a first-class clinical service."

Mr Johnson has trained in Glasgow, London, Cambridge, Oxford and Melbourne. As well as being a neurosurgeon, he is a molecular neurobiologist with a doctorate in neurogenetics from Oxford University.

Recent clinical appointments have been as a neurosurgery registrar at John RadcliffeHospital in Oxford and a neurosurgery fellow at Royal Melbourne Hospital. (Chairman of the neurosurgery service's governance board, Prof Andrew Kaye, is head of neurosurgery there.)

Mr Johnson has alsopublished peer-reviewedarticles on neurosurgery, isthe author and editor of four books on surgery, including Landmark Papers in Neurosurgery.

When he takes up his position Mr Johnson will be based in the department of surgical sciences and his academic duties will include contributing to the undergraduate and postgraduate teaching of medical students and establishing a research programme.

The search has begun for the third permanent appointment, that of professor of neurosurgery, but it is expected that could take some time.

Dr Adams said the international search agency had been engaged for this, but it was too soon to give any information about that.

In the meantime the service has agreed there should be a short-term neurosurgery appointment of several years, but that appointment is yet to be made.

A locum, who will serve a six-month appointment, is expected to arrive this month.



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