Eminent orthopaedic surgeon retires after exceptional career

02 Oct 2015 09:54:00.000


Professor Angus Wallace, a leading figure in British orthopaedic surgery and academic research is retiring from his NHS role in Nottingham after a surgical career spanning more than four decades.

For the past 35 years, Professor Wallace has also pioneered cutting edge research and orthopaedic inventions at The University of Nottingham, gaining international recognition during his very eventful career.

He came to widespread public notice for a life-saving surgery he performed using improvised surgical equipment on a British Airways flight in 1995, and for treating Wayne Rooney before the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

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Life-saving career

Following his mid-air heroics, Professor Wallace was one of the first recipients of the Weigelt-Wallace Award that acknowledges exceptional examples of patient care. Margaret Thatcher who presented the award praised his "courage, capacity for split-second decision-making and his can-do approach". Professor Wallace donated his £33,000 prize towards medical research at The University of Nottingham. 

Earlier in his career he treated a number of victims of the 1989 Kegworth air disaster, in which a British Midland flight crashed onto the embankment of the M1 motorway, and conducted further investigations into injuries sustained in the crash. 

Following half-a-decade of research he concluded that passengers who failed to adopt the brace position correctly sustained more injuries. His research team's suggestion of a different brace position was adopted by all UK airlines by 1999. 

'Huge honour'

Reflecting on his career, Professor Wallace said: “It has been a huge honour for me to have served The University of Nottingham for the last 30 years as the Professor of Orthopaedic & Accident Surgery. The university has given me huge support in developing an international name as an Academic Professor of Orthopaedics, an Expert Shoulder & Elbow Surgeon and as an inventor, publishing over 300 research papers and raising the profile of the university and Nottingham University Hospitals world-wide for high quality surgery. My academic orthopaedic colleagues, Professor Brigitte Scammell and Professor Roger Bayston will continue to provide high quality teaching and research after my retirement. 

“I am proud to have trained over 30 expert shoulder surgeons who are now working both in the UK and across the world in over 12 other countries (Australia, South Korea, Netherlands, Brazil, South Africa, Sweden, Hungary, Israel, Ireland, France, Greece and the Middle East).

“Sports Medicine is now a more developed area compared with when I set up the first UK Masters degree (MSc) in Sports Medicine with Professor Idris Williams (General Practice) in 1991, supported by Professor Peter Fentem (then Dean of the Medical School) with our first MSc students graduating in 1993. I established the Centre for Sports Medicine in 1995 with Dr Mark Batt who was UK trained in General Practice but also trained in Sports Medicine at the University of California. 

“On the Engineering front, I set up the Institute of Bioengineering in 2000 with Dr Donal McNally, now Associate Professor who continues to carry out very successful bioengineering collaboration with doctors and surgeons.

“As an Emeritus Professor I have decided to continue with my research profile with further research papers on Shoulder Surgery and Innovation as well as continuing to work as a Consultant on my medical devices – the ‘Vaios Shoulder Replacement’ with JRI Orthopaedics Ltd and the ‘Infinity Lock’ device for the reinforcement of joint ligaments with Xiros Ltd. I will be ‘hanging up my scalpel’ but will be happy to support Nottingham University Hospitals as a Mentor and an Appraiser.”

Emeritus Professorship

The Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham, Professor Sir David Greenaway, said: “Angus’ contribution to the world of orthopaedic surgery and research has been and will no doubt continue to be significant. He has been a popular and inspirational leader of research and teaching whose visionary ambitions and achievements have enthused the team around him. He has pioneered revolutionary surgical techniques which have made a dramatic difference to patients, and his passenger safety research has had a wide impact in preventing and minimising injury in accidents. We are delighted he will be continuing his research here as Emeritus Professor.” 

Professor John Atherton, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences said: “Thanks to Angus, the University has one of the best respected academic divisions of Orthopaedics and Accident Surgery in the UK. His leadership and charisma have driven this achievement, and we are really glad that we will benefit from his continuing association with us as an Emeritus Professor. His students and trainees have been inspired to become top orthopaedic surgeons and his research has had real influence on patients. Increasingly universities are getting involved with innovation and invention in partnership with industry, and Angus has pioneered this field. I particularly like the screwdriver which is fixed to the screw during surgery so it cannot slip off! The whole Faculty would like to thanks Angus, and we wish him all the best in his retirement.”

Professor Wallace has received the following commendations and awards:

1.)  Master's Letter of Commendation from the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators (1995)

2.)  Great Scot - Science and Medicine Award (1995)

3.)  People of the Year Award – RADAR (1995) 


— Ends —

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with a “distinct” approach to internationalisation, which rests on those full-scale campuses in China and Malaysia, as well as a large presence in its home city.’ (Times Good University Guide 2016). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers and the winner of ‘Research Project of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2014. It is ranked in the world’s top 75 by the QS World University Rankings 2015/16, and 8th in the UK by research power according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014. It has been voted the world’s greenest campus for three years running, according to Greenmetrics Ranking of World Universities.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…

Story credits

More informationis available from Nick Tully, Communications Specialist Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, +44 (0)115 9249924 ext 61600 or email Nicholas.tully@nuh.nhs.uk      

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