Professor Tom Robinson
Past President, British Association of Stroke Physicians (2019 to 2021)

Professor Tom ROBINSON BMedSci MD FRCP FESO AFHEA.I am Head of the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences and Professor of Stroke Medicine at the

University of Leicester, and Honorary Consultant Physician in Stroke Medicine at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust. OI lead the Cerebral Haemodynamics in Ageing and Stroke Medicine (CHiASM) Research Group at the University of Leicester, and my research interests relate to the study of cerebral haemodynamics and in particular the impact of changes in cerebral haemodynamic control mechanisms on the management of blood pressure, blood pressure variability and other physiological parameters following acute stroke through undertaking randomized controlled trials and other well-designed studies. In addition to research and clinical practice, I am the current President of the British Association of Stroke Physicians (2018 to 2019), and the National Specialty Lead for Stroke for the National Institute for Health Clinical Research Network (2015 to date).

Stroke and Me

I undertook my training in General Internal and Geriatric Medicine in Nottingham, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and Leicester. My initial interest in Stroke Medicine was piqued as a Stroke Association Clinical Research Fellow with Professor John Potter between 1993 and 1995, when I first studied the cardiovascular and cerebral haemodynamic consequences of acute stroke, culminating in the award of an MD from the University of Leicester. I was subsequently first appointed as a Consultant Physician and Stroke Association District Stroke Co-ordinator in Leicester in 1997, and ‘given’ 6 beds on Professor Mark Castleden’s ward at the Leicester General Hospital with which to start a stroke service. This quickly expanded to the whole ward, and over the years to a HASU and two acute wards at the Leicester Emergency site, with three rehabilitation wards each at three other hospital sites, an early supported discharge service, a one-stop TIA service, and a ‘drip and ship’ service for mechanical thrombectomy with Nottingham; this massive expansion led by my colleagues who it has been and is my privilege to work with.

My initial period as an NHS consultant lasted three years before an opportunity arose to return to academia in 2000 as John Potter’s Senior Lecturer, which led to the development of my interest in clinical trials, especially in acute blood pressure management with CHHIPS and COSSACS, as well as being able to continue primary research in cardiovascular and cerebrovascular regulation in acute stroke.  I was fortunate to be there at the start of the NIHR Stroke Research Network in 2006, led by Professor Gary Ford, as the Trent Local Stroke Research Network Lead, which provided the opportunities for international collaboration and my partnership with Professor Craig Anderson in ENCHANTED, HeadPoST and INTERACT, with more trials in the pipeline!

As well as developments in the Research Network, there was also opportunity within a vibrant Clinical Network led by Professor Tony Rudd and Damian Jenkinson, which allowed me to work with many multi-disciplinary colleagues in the East Midlands in the development and reorganisation of our hospital and community stroke services during the 2010s. This period of my career was also when I had the privilege to Chair the Stroke Medicine Specialty Advisory Committee and become involved in the stroke training agenda, as well as beginning my Executive roles with BASP in the Scientific Committee and now Presidency.

So Stroke and me – it has provided an opportunity to work in research, in teaching and training, in clinical management, but above all in everyday clinical practice with patients and their families across the entire stroke pathway; though my colleagues would say that I now do much less of the latter! A professionally satisfying, intellectually stimulating career with abundant and ample opportunity – why look for a career in any other specialty?