MAHSC Inaugural Lectures: Professor Ed Smith and Professor Iain Lawrie


The MAHSC Honorary Clinical Chairs are awarded on an annual basis by The University of Manchester’s Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Promotions Committee. They are awarded to individuals from across Greater Manchester who have made a major contribution to their clinical specialty, including excellence in research and education. There are now 86 MAHSC Honorary Clinical Chairs.

In this new series of lectures, MAHSC Honorary Clinical Chairs are celebrated as we invite the audience to hear their professional and personal journeys, clinical and research areas, plans for the future and to answer questions.

The first in the MAHSC Inaugural Lecture series welcomed MAHSC Honorary Clinical Chairs Professor Ed Smith & Professor Iain Lawrie.

Professor Ed Smith: ‘Proton Therapy – Without knowledge action is useless, and knowledge without action is futile’

Professor Smith graduated from the University of Oxford in 1996 and was a Junior Doctor in Oxford, Newcastle and various London teaching hospitals. He moved to Manchester in 1999, completing specialist training in Clinical Oncology at The Christie in 2007.

Professor Smith specialises in the treatment of paediatric tumours. His particular interests include the use of advanced radiation therapy (proton and XRT) to reduce the side effects of treatment. He led on development of the Proton Beam Therapy clinical service at The Christie which opened in 2018 and was the first high energy NHS proton treatment centre in the UK.

Professor Smith is currently the Clinical Director of the Proton Beam Therapy at The Christie. He leads on developing approaches to collect patient treatment and outcome data from patients treated with proton therapy and set up a Proton Clinical Outcomes Unit (PCOU), a national service for collating world-class proton outcomes data.

Professor Smith said: “One of the flagship things for me is the development of an NHS proton registry. At The Christie we’ve received funding to develop that and ultimately we will leverage that to deliver the evaluative commissioning studies”

As highlighted by Karen Kirkby, Professor of Proton Therapy Physics at The University of Manchester and The Christie Hospital, Professor Smith has worked tirelessly to develop the proton clinical outcomes unit, and he has ensured the proton service at The Christie is a national service, where patients are referred from across the country.

person's hand in support

Professor Iain Lawrie: ‘Your work must be very sad… (…all your patients die!)

Professor Iain Lawrie started life as a Physiotherapist before studying Medicine in Leicester, qualifying in 1997. He entered Palliative Medicine through the General Practice route (with a short period working in a Category B prison) and now works mostly in secondary palliative care after having been both Lead Clinician and Director of Medical Education across a large five-site NHS Trust.

Professor Lawrie is passionate about the provision of excellent end-of-life care in hospitals and in the community and, as Associate Hospital Dean for Communication Skills Teaching, has a significant interest in the education of all staff groups in health and social care.

Professor Lawrie noted: “Palliative and end-of-life care is everyone’s job – not just the experts – and the care and compassion over the medicalization of death is vital. I want to bring death, dying and talking about it back into public consciousness. It is a natural part of life and we possibly become frightened of talking about it.”

Between 2017 and 2021 Professor Lawrie was Vice President and then President of the Association for Palliative Medicine of Great Britain and Ireland and is now approaching the end of his term as Charity Trustee, member of Council and Global Executive Trustee of the Royal College of Physicians. He sits on the Editorial Boards of the European Journal of Cancer Care, BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care and Introducing Palliative Care and also holds several voluntary specialist advisor roles for government, NHSE/I and social enterprises.

Professor Lawrie provided an overview of his career to date and shared an insight into what working in Palliative Medicine is like and dispelled some of the common misconceptions surrounding the area of care.

Professor Lawrie said: “We’re supporting patients through treatment, but we’re focusing on quality of life, helping people to live as long as they can as well as they can. If people are approaching the end of their life, trying to achieve a good death, and that might sound odd to people, but a death can be good if it’s got comfort and dignity with the people around you that you know and love in a place of your choosing.”

As highlighted by Professor Jo Hart, Professor of Health Professional Education at The University of Manchester, Professor Lawrie has challenged norms and pushed boundaries, using his interdisciplinary approach to enable teams to work together to improve the patient experience


About the MAHSC Inaugural Lectures

Join us in the series to celebrate MAHSC Honorary Clinical Chairs in Greater Manchester, hear their professional and personal journey, clinical and research areas, plans for the future and share your questions.

Next lecture: 26 April 2023 with MAHSC Honorary Clinical Chair Professor Raffaele Califano. Find out more and register here.

Catch up on the lecture here:

As an Academic Health Science Centre, MAHSC is designated by NHS England and NHS Improvement and the National Institute for Health and Care Research for demonstrating excellence in health research, heath education and patient care. In April 2020, MAHSC was designated for a further five years until 2025 in recognition of the exceptional and world-leading health research partnership between the Greater Manchester’s NHS and academic organisations.

It brings together The University of Manchester, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust, and the Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust to deliver innovation through research domains aligned to Greater Manchester’s areas of research strength and population needs.

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