Meet Coral Hollywood


Dr Coral Hollywood is a Consultant at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital and the BSG VP of Hepatology.

What attracted you to a career in gastroenterology/hepatology?

I studied at Southampton University with visits to the hospital for lectures offered by the NHS specialities. In our 3rd year, we were offered ward attachments and mine was in hepatology.  The team was dynamic, enthusiastic and positive in their care of their patients. Of course I was inspired by them and as a keen mature student, I attended everything I could.  This was in 1998 and back then 'firms' would offer keen students a house job if they qualified - the rest was set, my 'attachment' to liver patients for the following years to come.  I then did the SHO job, the registrar job and fellow job all in Southampton with the same team.  The more I did, the more I loved it.

What advancement in gastroenterology/hepatology are you most excited about and why?

The roll out of iLFT in Scotland is very exciting.  In hepatology, we are so often looking after patients with end stage disease. The way forward must be in the earlier detection of disease and we will be watching our neighbours with interest.  This technology will enable us to pull through those with liver problems before they become too unwell to turn around.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I love the variety of my work within hepatology.  I work in a District General Hospital as a non-specialist hepatologist.  My ward weeks are spent looking after both sick livers and complicated IBD with a few GI cancers and nutritional patients.  I do non-selected hepatology clinic, and upper GI endoscopy, specialising in variceal surveillance.  I mentor nurse specialists, chair MDT for all things liver, and am clinical lead for service development in hepatology. My trust have been very open minded about developing the liver service and appreciated a specialist being keen to take the whole department forward.  District General Hospital hepatology is a swiftly developing service, with much need and so much scope to improve.

What is one thing you would change?

Stereotypes! This sounds obvious, but to change stereotypes at the top we have to have a bigger pool of participants at the bottom.  I would like to encourage everyone, from everywhere to step up.  There is no point in complaining there are no women in top positions if no women are wanting to be there!  Make medicine, training, specialty more accessible to women and more will be available to take on leading roles.  An obvious game of numbers...

What's the best advice you've been given in your career?

That's an easy question, but I do have 2 answers both from the same Professor: You have to like the patients you look after.  Liking my patient group makes it a joy to come to work, to look out for them and continue to offer them an exemplar service.  This in turn encourages me to be personally involved in service development, strive to do better, and even join national committees.

And second: You have to be in it to win it.  Put yourself forward for every opportunity that arises, if a door opens and it interests you, walk through it.  During my year as a gastro registrar in Southampton, the fellowship in hepatology post had no applicants.  I hadn't applied formally as I had no higher degree, something listed as desirable on the application.  I chatted to the clinical supervisor and took up the post at the next rotation - this one move set me up as the hepatologist I wanted to be.

What does being a BSG member mean to you?

Being a BSG member means being offered a multitude of opportunities!  The meeting itself is so good not just for education but for networking and catching up with each other.  The membership gives me access to the most up-to-date guidelines and pathways.  The BSG admin team themselves are quick to reply with queries and helpful regarding information and navigation of the website.  Joining the liver committee has been an education in itself.  Not only do I get to rub shoulders with famous people from the liver world, but am able to apply some of the insider knowledge gained to my own practice. My own trust has definitely benefited from my exposure to the committee.  I have been in the front row for new developments, asked to be involved in writing guidelines, and most recently had the honour of becoming VP hepatology for the BSG, as well as the liver section chair.

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