Get to know the new Clinical Oncology MDPP

Tuesday 10 November 2015

We recently interviewed Dr David Bloomfield our newly elected Medical Director, Professional Practice, Clinical Oncology to find out why he stood for Office and what three items he would take to a desert island.

1. What made you stand for office?

I think it’s an opportunity to improve clinical oncology across the UK. The College has the potential to be a very strong force if people get involved and contribute to it. I think my strengths are around networking, so I would move forward with enthusiasm and forge together being mutually supportive benefiting both the professional practice and patients.

2. What is your favourite thing about the RCR?

I think it is a very accessible organisation – very friendly and open. I think it has been reinventing itself and making real efforts to reach out to people.

3. Which parts of the College would you like to see Fellows and members become more involved with?

Consensus guidelines on treatments and the Clinical Oncology Online Forums (COOF’s) but linking those to education meetings where we have a real opportunity to set professional standards of what we should be doing. The NHS and commissioners are looking for guidance and it should be coming from us as a profession. The College is a way of doing that.

4. What made you choose clinical oncology as your specialty?

It was initially a fairly random event. My first house officer job after qualifying was an oncology post at Middlesex Hospital but it wasn’t what I applied for. I was very attracted to the communication aspects of it and the need to be completely honest and relate to patients as well as gain their trust. Later, once I’d passed MRCP, I was thinking I what could do as a specialty and thought back to the jobs I’d done. I’d enjoyed my house officer job so chose oncology.

5. If you could give one piece of advice to medical students considering a career in clinical oncology, what would it be?

I think to recognise that medicine is a very broad discipline and to explore the full width of that discipline before bringing that experience into oncology.

6. What is the best thing about your job?

I think it’s the very special one-to-one relationship with the patients.

7. If you weren’t a doctor what would you be doing instead and why?

I’ve always quite fancied being a tree surgeon. I like being out and about – I’m an active person and enjoy working outside. I like conservation awareness and the idea of managing woodland sounds rather romantic to me.

8. What three items would you take to a desert island and why?

Am I given anything to survive? Well there is this theory, Maslow’s pyramid which says you’ve got to have the basics for survival before you can think about anything creative or intellectual so I’d have a complete survival pack.  The standard complete works of Shakespeare as I’ve never got round to reading them and Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s Le Petit Prince with the original illustrations.

9. If you could learn a new skill what would it be and why?

I would like to be fluent in another language, probably Portuguese, as two of my three children are in long-term relationships with Portuguese speakers.

10. What would your friends say is your greatest quality?


11. If you could invite three people to dinner, past or present, who would you invite?

Oh I need to make sure they’ll get on so Nelson Mandela, Nye Bevan and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

12. What is the best advice you have ever been given?

Learn how to say no – which I’m still not very good at.

13. Who inspires you and why?

Nelson Mandela because of his tenacity and wisdom but also his human faults – he’s not perfect.

14. What has been your greatest achievement?

Being a half-way decent husband and father (maybe).

15. If you could give the College a hashtag what would it be?


Read the interview from Dr Andy Smethurst our the newly elected Medical Director, Professional Practice, Clinical Radiology.