A global approach
"Working in a small sub-specialist area means that we have to collaborate globally if we want to share ideas with colleagues doing the same thing," says Dr Macrae.
With this in mind, he organises and attends world congresses, lectures to overseas audiences, plays an active role in international organisations and has worked as a volunteer in China, Romania and Vietnam.
Says Dr Macrae: “It is important that we travel widely so we can bring back the latest ideas to the Trust. My team has introduced many new methods as a result of working with colleagues overseas and this has had a positive impact on the quality of patient care we provide.”
He adds: “A recent example is a new approach to risk management in intensive care which I studied in the United States. This has empowered the whole team here to take responsibility for infection control which will result in fewer hospital-aquired infections.”
Dr Macrae is on the scientific committee of the World Congress on Paediatric Critical Care, which meets every four years.
He is also president of the Paediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Society and was involved in organising its first congress outside the United States, which was held in Monaco in 2008. He was chairman of the PCICS European Conference in 2011.
Dr Macrae presented at the World Congress of Paediatric Cardiology & Cardiac Surgery in Cape Town, South Africa in February 2013.
Dr Macrae is regularly called on to talk about his work in specialist areas – which include mechanical circulatory support for advanced heart failure and the treatment of pulmonary hypertension in intensive care - at other major international events.
He says: “I have a research interest in tight glycaemic control – or the use of insulin to control glucose levels in sick children – so also give lectures to international audiences on this subject.” A clinical trial investigating this potential treatment is co-ordinated by Dr Macrae.
Giving regular talks overseas is also a good discipline, says Dr Macrae. He explains: “This ensures that we study the latest developments in key areas during our preparation.”
Dr Macrae is the paediatric editor for the European journal Intensive Care Medicine and an associate editor of Paediatric Critical Care Medicine, based in the United States.
In addition to his work in China and Romania, he has worked with a team led by Khanh Nguyen, an American-Vietnamese heart surgeon who works for the Mount Sinai Medical Centre in New York.
Says Dr Macrae: “We operated on 15 children in the hospital where Khanh was born. The most successful role we can play in situations like this is to train local teams, which I hope to get involved with in the future.”
Training in Australia
As part of his training, Dr Macrae studied at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia. He then worked for ten years as a consultant paediatric intensivist at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children before turning to Royal Brompton.
Maintaining a high international profile is good for Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, says Dr Macrae. He adds: “It is important that we continually promote the Trust’s clinical research excellence so that we remain a destination for keen, enthusiastic overseas doctors who want to do specialist training here.”