Dr Sophie Burnage
Dr Sophie Burnage, Emergency Department
Sophie is a junior doctor working in the Emergency Department at Royal Stoke. She is an inspiration to myself and many of her colleagues. She has been through a very difficult time with health problems due to her eating disorder and has used her experiences in a positive way to shape the services provided locally for people with eating disorders in Staffordshire. Her tenacity and drive has resulted in a new service for people in Staffordshire being set up and provided. A service which was non-existent prior to Sophie's involvement. She spent a long time lobbying for this service including personally writing to all members of parliament to describe the complete lack of service and what was required, resulting in a new service being commissioned. All this whilst going through medical school and working as a junior doctor.
In addition, Sophie has taken a massive personal risk in disclosing and discussing her personal experiences and challenges as someone with an eating disorder. She has presented at a local GP conference, departmental teaching for doctors and ACPs, grand round and at a national Emergency Medicine study day on eating disorders. Very rarely have I seen anyone be as open and honest about their own feelings and experiences, particularly regarding a condition which is scarcely spoken of with colleagues and strangers. She has a vast knowledge of this subject (one which many people die of every year), and has used her candid approach and bravery to use her personal story to teach us how best to clinically and psychologically manage patients with these conditions.
Her drive to ensure that we as clinicians understand these taboo conditions to treat more effectively and communicate more compassionately is simply mind-blowing. Sophie is a true inspiration and if she continues her medical career with the same drive and determination, knowing when to lay bare her own experience when required, she will go very very far. Many patients will benefit directly from Sophie's teaching, clinical care and service set up. Simply phenomenal.