11 Feb 2020
Welcoming Dr Tony Williams to the Clinical Advisory Board
As a commitment to our mission to lead the way in clinical excellence, we created our industry-leading Clinical Advisory Board (CAB) - and we’re delighted to introduce our latest member, Dr Tony Williams. Backed by a wealth of experience in Occupational Health, Dr Williams is now our Consultant Physician and will be an incredible addition to our already renowned panel.
1. Why did you choose a career in Occupational Health?
I joined the Army straight after House Jobs and found that Army medicine had a strong Occupational Health focus. This speciality had a very positive outlook, helping people get back to fitness and back to work in challenging roles and this really appealed to me. I also found this speciality had a very healthy grounding in common sense - it looks at what people can do despite medical problems, rather than assuming they can’t work. I thoroughly enjoyed my training and worked with a variety of elite units, combining occupational medicine with command roles, and have even been able to use my experience gained to set up my own consultancy company.
2. Can you tell us about your previous experience?
Much of my Army experience was with Airborne Forces, working with a very positive and determined group of soldiers. Airborne Medics have the same ethos, and I always found it rewarding to see them solving problems and making the most of any situation. I was fortunate to work in a very wide variety of working environments, including boat work and diving, mountain and arctic warfare, jungle, extreme heat and extreme cold. Since then, I have worked in roles involving heavy engineering, transport, port, fire, police and ambulance, hospitals and local authorities. Not only that, I have also been involved in research in human factors and fitness for fire and lifeboat roles. Most recently, my experience has led me to work in pensions and insurance and associated medico-legal work.
3. What has been the greatest moment of your career so far?
Commanding 23 Parachute Field Ambulance (a unit containing 330 medics, including surgical teams) on challenging exercises and operational deployment was the most exciting and challenging role for me.
4. Is there an area of Occupational Health that you specialise in?
I have undertaken significant research into fitness for work after surgery, and have an interest in human factors and fitness for role in the Uniformed Services. I’m also interested in chronic fatigue and chronic pain, as well as evidence-based support that helps patients with these conditions re-engage with employment.
5. Why did you choose to join Speed Medical’s CAB?
Speed Medical’s focus is the efficient delivery of quality evidence-based advice - to me, this is the essence of good occupational medicine.
6. What’s the most rewarding area of your work?
The most rewarding area of my work is helping employees who have lost confidence and endured substantial health problems to re-engage with work, as well as working with teams to focus on common sense and confidence-building to achieve this.
7. What has been your greatest personal achievement?
My greatest personal achievement was when I conducted the Government review into Firefighter Pension Age. I provided a detailed evidence-based study to inform policy on pension age, and in turn provided the evidence to support a strategic approach to maintaining fitness in the Fire Service.
8. What makes you excited about joining Speed Medical's CAB?
This is a new opportunity to move away from the ‘tick-box’ approach to sickness absence management and work with employers to take ownership of sickness absence while engaging with their employees who are off sick. It is also an opportunity to expand the cadre of specialists in Occupational Health to include Occupational Therapists and other allied health professionals who have much to offer.
Welcome to Speed Medical, Dr Williams!