Dr McAllum recently took a sabbatical, spending December and January travelling in the UK, Europe and India. She arranged to visit the practices of several colleagues along the way to observe different patient management styles and learn some new surgical techniques.
First she met up with Dr Sathish Srinivasan in Ayr, Scotland. He was a co-fellow with Dr McAllum in the corneal service at the Toronto Western Hospital in Canada in 2005-2006. He now works as the sole corneal specialist in a district hospital on the west coast of Scotland. He runs an excellent service, providing the full range of corneal transplant surgeries and a one-stop shop cataract, where patients who are waitlisted directly from their optometrist referrals, are assessed and treated on the same day.
The second visit was the Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham, England. Queens is a large tertiary hospital, and Dr McAllum spent several days with Prof Harminder Dua, of "Dua's Layer" fame (he discovered a new layer in the cornea). Prof Dua has a wealth of experience, particularly in ocular surface diseases and partial corneal transplant surgeries, and was happy to share his knowledge. It was a valuable few days both in the clinic and the operating theatre.
In India, Dr McAllum visited Dr Mohita Sharma, who runs the Tirupati Eye Centre in Noida, East of Delhi. Dr McAllum initially came across Dr Sharma when she won an award at the Women in Ophthalmology conference in San Diego in 2017, for her work in establishing the Women Opthalmologists Society in India. He is an inspiring leader and an excellent cataract surgeon.
Dr McAllum also enjoyed a white Christmas in Austria and some great curries in India! She has returned to New Zealand refreshed and inspired.