I'm a doctor for the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK. I studied medicine at a top school and always wanted to be a medic. Four years into my career I've had enough. I think I'll be of more use to patients working for a healthcare team in an investment bank than as a doctor in a hospital.
Why the change of heart? The reality of working in the NHS has proven wildly different to my expectation. My training showed me the very best the NHS can offer; the resources available were exceptional. Outside London, though, it's a different matter. A two-tier healthcare systems exits in this country: the standards are different and the resources are fewer (beds, staff, operating theatre capacity, community services). The treatment of outpatients is inadequate so that when people arrive in the hospital their needs are greater and the pressure on front line services is increased.
This wasn't what I expected. Almost everything in the NHS is reactive, whereas I had thought patients would be treated proactively. This makes more sense in a huge centralised system with tight budgets that's serving a population suffering from chronic disease. The reactive approach leads to poorer results. It is expensive and unsustainable.
I have my own vision of what a good healthcare system should look like. Built around wearable tech, it should stream live meta data to a cloud-based machine learning system which can detect aberrant patterns. This would allow for preemptive clinical intervention.
Although this would save money by allocating resources more efficiency, it isn't going to happen in the NHS. There is neither the immediate nor the political will to achieve this: instead of having a strategy to improve the health of the nation and to intervene before things become critical, the NHS is wholly engaged with firefighting.
I believe I will be better able to change this mindset outside the system than within it. By helping to finance disruptive companies, I want to challenge the existing model and to bring about better patient outcomes. Working only on the front line, my strategic impact is too limited. I can do more good working in banking than in a hospital.
My aim is to improve healthcare globally. I want exposure to companies working in biotech, med-tech and healthcare delivery. Healthcare investment banking appeals because I think it will allow me to facilitate improvements in these areas. - I'll be helping companies to finance themselves and to enhance their capacity through strategic M&A.
Whether I'll actually be able to move into banking is another question. I don't have a quantitative background: I'm just a medic. I could take an MBA, but I'm not convinced it would be money well spent. Ideally, I'm aiming at becoming an off-cycle intern in a boutique and then to move into a larger bank when I've got some experience. In the meantime, I'm working night-shifts on a busy ward. Wish me luck.
Bemus Anagnos is a pseudonym
Photo credit: head&neck by Paul Wilson is licensed under CC BY 2.0.