Hospital consultancy

OT  speaks to ophthalmologist John Bolger about running his own eye hospital in London

John Bolger

What is your current role?

I am a consultant ophthalmologist. I left my NHS consultant post in 1992 and run and own an eye hospital in London. The main goal of my hospital is to be affordable and accessible to the general public – a sort of a democratising of independent healthcare. I specialise in refractive surgery, both intraocular and laser (SmILE and Presbyond), cataract surgery and glaucoma treatment.

If you could change one thing about the way we work what would it be?

To put the professional back in control. Much of the way we work is decided by non-clinicians and we can all see how deleterious that can be. The optometrist or ophthalmologist have unique insights and understanding into what treatments are needed and what is effective yet their influence is frequently ignored.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Be comfortable outside of your comfort zone. The status quo is never the way forward.

If you could switch career path, what would you choose to do? 

I would be a classical musician. But working in artificial intelligence is extremely exciting and has a lot to offer – not just medicine but society as a whole. So I fancy myself as a computer scientist.

How do you manage a work/life balance? 

Sleep well and eat well. I greatly admire Guy Watson of Riverford Organic Farms, so I mostly buy organic.

What do you do to unwind? 

Play music: live and unamplified.

You have won the OT lottery. What are the first three things you would do with the £1m jackpot? 

A Tesla car, a helicopter and modern furniture.

Where are you going on your next holiday?

I’m going to Sicily to cook local specialities.