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I started school in northern Scotland, and left with a scholarship to study medical sciences and philosophy, at Corpus Christi College Cambridge. I later transferred to Magdalen College, Oxford to study clinical medicine, and while there rowed for Oxford University (Isis) in the 1981 Boat Race.

I have written or co-written many scientific papers, books, book chapters, and editorials in the fields of non-cardiac chest pain, transplant psychiatry, and euthanasia. I’ve contributed chapters to the Edinburgh textbooks of psychiatry and medicine, which have between them sold 200,000+ copies.

I continued medical studies in the United States, before returning to London and then Edinburgh to train in psychiatry, going on to work as a Consultant in Liaison Psychiatry in

Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, mainly in the emergency department and acute admissions unit.

I've lectured at international meetings on the similarites and differences between creating fictional characters and the central skill - for all doctors, but especially psychiatrists - of taking a patient's history. 

In 2014 I took up a new role in the UK's first Transplant Psychiatry post, working with the kidney, liver and pancreas transplant services in Edinburgh.

I was awarded Fellowship of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 2006, Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh in 2014, and Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 2022.

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