Antony Ajay Pall Narula
Tony was born on 14 November 1955 in Burma and came to the UK as a small child with his parents. His father came to the UK to train as a surgeon in 1958, then, following a military coup in 1959, the couple were advised not to return and in effect became the equivalent of asylum seekers in 1960. Antony’s father was categorized as a ‘resident alien’ and was required to report to a police station every three months, whilst working in the NHS as a trainee surgeon. The family planned to return to India, which is where Tony’s parents were both originally from, and Tony was due to attend a school in Darjeeling. A decision was made not to return, however, and Tony was educated and raised in Surrey where his father worked as a GP until retirement in the early 1990s. Tony conducted his medical training at Cambridge, holding junior posts in London
and a middle grade post in Ear, Nose and Throat surgery in Nottingham. He conducted further training in Leicester and was appointed Consultant in 1989 at the age of 33, working at a teaching hospital in Leicester for twelve years before taking up a post at St Mary’s (now Imperial) in London in 2001 and he has worked there ever since.
Barriers to progress
When I trained in the 1980s, you must remember that it was still very different to how it is now. There were still a lot of barriers to progress if you were a foreigner and just your name could stop you getting on shortlists. I've had plenty of experience of that but it's different now. It's never been easy to make progress but I'm pleased that in my lifetime, it's changed completely. One mustn't underestimate the importance of your colleagues in all of this. I’ve had supportive colleagues when I was a trainee; supportive colleagues who helped me get my first Consultant job and supportive colleagues here.