Renton L’heureux, Consultant Paediatrician

Meet one of our NHS Ambassadors. Growing up in Belguim and South Africa, Renton fell in love with the NHS when he moved to England to further his studies. He now wants to help ensure the growth and continued improvement of the NHS, which is why he is sharing his passion for the NHS with children by visiting local schools to tell them about his job and inspire them to consider future possibilities with the NHS:

“My duties consist of seeing acutely ill children in the emergency department and GP referrals of children of all ages from birth to 16 years of age to the children’s services of the hospitals. I also cover emergency work overnight and over the weekends for emergencies once every 12 weeks. I do clinics where I see patients at GP practices (as opposed to hospitals) to help primary care treat children with illnesses more quickly.

People are fascinating with stories to tell and this is one the reasons I love my job. I like listening to their stories. I also love the joy you get from helping. The NHS is made/was made about caring and I share that feeling with a number of other health professionals – there is an overwhelming sense of working together to care. I am constantly mentally stimulated to think and improve myself, to push the boundaries of what I know and how I can use that efficiently and with personal care

I went into medicine directly from school in South Africa. At the time, I wanted stimulation, adventure, the ability to work with people and a career that could travel the world. It became clear that I wanted to help the most vulnerable and innocent in society and therefore chose paediatrics. I moved to the UK in 1998 to further my studies as a postgraduate paediatric trainee (children’s doctor). However, I fell in love with the fairness and care I found in the NHS and I have never looked back and stayed here since. I love working with the most vulnerable patients and devoted a significant time to working with extremely premature babies. As well as being rewarding, it is also a frontier of science where we are continually pushing the boundaries of discovery – but using empathy and care in what is a highly emotive field of study. I continue to move on, healthcare and the NHS allows you to do that and I am now trying to change the model of providing care for GPs who refer children to see paediatricians – by trying to be paediatricians closer allied to primary care and help the GPs develop their knowledge base of paediatrics and provide paediatric care closer to the patient rather than the hospital.

I want to develop and maintain the fairness of the NHS. To do so requires some change in the way we used to do things and to do so with exactly the same intentions as the NHS’ founding people. I want to be part of that NHS change and legacy. I want it succeed and be the best health service that we can all make it to be. So I am changing my career to healthcare advocacy and trying to help people who need medical help by doing it free of charge at the point of care. And as a bonus, the NHS has allowed me to develop a special interest in children’s neurology, so I am excited and thrilled to continue to learn, develop, grow and contribute in the NHS.

The advice I want to give to young people is to love the career with its warts and all. Take your time making decisions about specifics you want to go into. Enjoy learning the knowledge slowly and patiently – all of it is fascinating! Even though you will be tested – it will still enthral you 20-30 years later. Make sure you have “ME” time – it is a work hard and play hard career. Take your down time, family time, friend time and personal interest time seriously. Don’t let the healthcare consume you, consume it.”

Thanks for sharing your story with us Renton.

If you would like to help your class realise the link between what they are learning now and future possibilities in the NHS, register and sign in at the top of the page to invite an NHS Ambassador in your local area to your school.