Dr Siva Sivappriyan was born in Jaffna, SriLanka. He is a consultant in Diabetes and Endocrinology at Maidstone and Tunbridge wells NHS trust, Kent. He studied Medicine at the University of Colombo and completed his postgraduate training in London. He is also an Honorary senior lecturer at Kings College London and actively involved in teaching and training of next the generation of doctors at undergraduate and postgraduate level. He also serves as the college tutor. Physicians lead and departmental lead. His specialist's interests include atypical forms of diabetes, self-education on diabetes, new therapeutics for diabetes, thyroid and pituitary. Siva has published his research at national and international level in his specialist fields and has been a guest speaker. He is a passion for improving the self-management and understanding of the patient's medical conditions. He is also involved with a various charity helping the training of health care professionals in SriLanka.
1. Which place, or city or country do you most feel at home in?
The United Kingdom. Being a doctor, I lived in 11 different cities in the UK, including Scotland, in the 16 years. This gave my family and me an excellent opportunity to meet new people and learn about their cultures, traditions, lifestyles and local languages. Everyone has a place in society.
2. What are your proudest achievements?
It has been who I am. It was possible through the help of my parents, teachers, colleagues, mentors, my family. While I am not alone in this, I had so many hardships and sacrifices in my life due to war in Srilanka and am merely a reflection of their hard work.
3. What inspires you?
My patients. My work deals with human emotions and often reflecting their life through disease. I had to go the extra mile to address this. While I listen, learn and address challenges of life for my patients with them, this privileged opportunity to help the needy keeps me going.
4. What has been biggest obstacle in your career?
Despite likeminded people on board often, there are arbitrary barriers in doing the right care for our patients. This leads to unnecessary delays and frustrations for us, and our patients—things like getting funding, pathways for referrals. It is all paid by the single ultimate source if there is any.
5. Who has been the biggest influence on your career to date?
My NHS colleagues. They are trying their best to do whatever they can during the current Covid pandemic. It has been so unfair the virus deadly to some. Personally, my father, who taught me ‘Never give up in life’ helps me to join my colleagues for this difficult battle.
6. What is the best aspect about your current role?
Meeting new people and involved with meaningful interactions, whether it is my colleagues or patients. This gives me an understanding of both sides of life and offers a multifaceted approach to their and team problems. No one is enemy or ally as we all are part of the same world full of questions.
7. And the worst?
Seeing too late diagnosis being too late for cancers, for example. Our NHS is the best in the world for emergency treatment. But if presenting symptoms are mild it can be overlooked as non-significant leading to late diagnosis. We (educating the public) all have a part to play to improve this.
8. What are your long-term goals?
Education. It is educating my patients, junior colleagues and public. This should be a crucial part of primary prevention (Healthy lifestyles). And also, in secondary prevention (like diabetes). I am more addicted to doing this, and my days are becoming longer and longer. I welcome all to join with me.
9. If you were Prime Minister, what one aspect would you change?
I have two -digitalising NHS and abolishing postcode lottery for health care. I don't believe money is the only barrier but lack of determination and bravery. If Google can tell us where we were four years ago, why can't we do this as a country? These can't wait any longer.
10. If you were marooned on a desert island, which historical figure would you like to spend your time with and why?
Swami Vivekananda (hope you know him). He was famous for his speech which gave lots of intelligent, positive energy in his speech. There are lots of negative issues going on in the world, and he would have told to get on with it. 'Arise, awake and stop not till.'