Dr David West qualified from Leeds Medical School in 1979. During initial surgical training in Birmingham he recognised that the brightest future of surgery lay not in cutting but in the then fledgling field of Interventional Radiology. The dramatic advances taking place in Imaging at that time combined with the miniaturisation of instruments were enabling many patients to avoid major surgical explorations under general anaesthesia and instead have effective therapy through needle punctures using only local anaesthetic. He undertook basic training in Radiology in Staffordshire and then gained specialist experience in Interventional Radiology at Guys and Lewisham Hospitals in south London and at the University Hospital in Lund Sweden and took up the first consultant post in Interventional Radiology at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire in 1989. He has developed one of the busiest Interventional Radiology practices in the UK with at least two thirds now devoted to vascular disease.
Determined that there must be a better way of managing the commonest vascular condition in the Western world, varicose veins, in 2003 he went to the US to study the new techniques which were being developed to treat them with minimal invasion. Back in the UK he experienced great resistance to establishing a non-surgical vein treatment service but persisted in the firm belief that the new techniques, avoiding cuts and time off work and carried out on an outpatient basis, would inevitably, at some time, take over from traditional surgery.
His determination to change and modernise medical practice has paid off as he has now one of the most successful vein treatment centres in the country. He has treated over 1500 patients using laser, embolisation, VNUS and foam sclerotherapy. His company Veincentre Ltd. is fully registered with the Healthcare Commission (now Care quality Commission)
David is now recognised widely for his expertise and experience in the treatment of varicose veins and venous insufficiency. He is a regular lecturer at the annual CIRSE (Cardiovascular and Interventional Society of Europe) congresses, is a faculty member of the ESIR (European School of Interventional Radiology) courses on varicose veins and lectures at several other prestigious medical conferences.
David feels strongly that patients should be given as much information as they want about their condition to enable them to decide which treatment is right for them. That includes being told about all treatments which the doctor looking after them does not himself undertake and, if an NHS patient, about treatments which are available privately but not available on the NHS. Too often patients are denied knowledge and are given treatments that they may not have chosen if they had been informed about newer options which are often less invasive and more successful.
Dr David West is director of Veincentre Ltd. and also SDL medical Ltd. a company supplying high quality lasers and consumables for EVLA procedures. Neither of these companies has sponsored the writing of this article.