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 24 May 2022

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Dr Miles Allison is a Consultant Physician with a special interest in Gastroenterology based at the Royal Gwent Hospital, Newport, South Wales.

Having been born in Oxford and brought up in North London, he trained in Medicine at St George's Hospital School of Medicine, London. He moved to Bath as a Senior House Officer where he met his future wife Caroline (his House Officer at the time). At that stage he chose General Medicine and Gastroenterology as a career path, and his post-graduate training took place at the Royal Free Hospital, London and Glasgow Hospitals. He took up his present appointment in 1991. Whilst in his current post he has tried to combine a busy clinical workload with teaching, research, audit and committee work; with variable degrees of success.

As well as serving on the Royal College of Physicians Specialty Committee, he was treasurer of the Endoscopy Section Committee of the British Society of Gastroenterology, and has been secretary to two BSG Working Parties, and, more recently, Professional Lead for Bowel Screening Wales. He is now clinical lead for the National Endoscopy Programme in Wales. He is also gastroenterology representative on the UK CJD Incidents Panel.

What made you decide to become a gastroenterologist?
Because I became interested in endoscopy at the time when it was evolving as a therapeutic modality. Whilst a physician at heart, I find the therapeutic side of endoscopy challenging and fulfilling.
Who was the teacher you admired the most?
Probably Professor Dame Sheila Sherlock, but others had more direct influence in my career path. Dr Kenneth Gough, Consultant Physician in Bath, first inspired me into the speciality. Roy Pounder had the largest influence in my research development, and Dr Peter Mills taught me most of my therapeutic endoscopy in Glasgow.
Which research paper influenced you the most?
Bjarnason I et al. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug induced intestinal inflammation in humans. Gastroenterology 1987; 93: 480-9. The sharp contrast between the apparent rarity of NSAID-induced small intestinal disease in clinical practice, and the reported commonness in this paper, led me to conduct my most widely quoted research (see below).
What is the most important fact that you have discovered?
The prevalence of visually apparent non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug induced small intestinal disease in man (N Engl J Med 1992, 327: 749-54.).
What is the biggest mistake that you have made?
Probably sacrificing too much in my personal life for my career, at a time when progress in the speciality was most competitive. This may have led to my unfulfilled ambition and greatest regret, not to have had children.
How do you relax?
By spending as much time as possible with my wife, Caroline, a Palliative Care Physician, and our two oriental kittens. We live in rural Monmouthshire and spend time maintaining our house (an old village school), playing tennis, travelling, running up hill and down dale, and long walks. We travel extensively and, to us, the ultimate relaxation is the Atlantic coast of Spain characterised by sun, sea, sangria and seafood.
What is your favorite sport?
Tennis, partly because it is the only sport I am any good at, and my wife and I are of equal standard. I am also getting into scuba diving, and have not lost a passion for sailing.
What is your best place in the world?
Tobago, which combines a Caribbean beach atmosphere with wonderful friendly local people, superb wildlife and rainforest. Snorkelling and scuba diving are spectacular.
What car do you drive?
A Volvo S40 saloon, but at weekends get out and about in my wife's BMW Z3 when possible.
Why did you get in involved in
Because of my previous long collaboration with Professor Roy Pounder in compiling colour atlases. Undoubtedly pictorial images are the way to convey the study of medicine to younger generations of medical staff. The web is the ideal instrument for this purpose, and the most acceptable vehicle to that generation.

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