Meet the Team

Mike Smillie

Mike Smillie

Regional Lead Echo

Tell us a bit about yourself and your professional background

I started my career 20 years ago as an Assistant Technical Officer in the NHS. Back then, like today, there was a national shortage of Physiologists, and I was lucky to be working in a department led by a forward-thinking manager that encouraged and supported me to train as a Clinical Physiologist.

As part of that training, I got to observe and learn echocardiography. From the moment I saw the heart on the screen and looked inside this person in front of me, watching the muscle of their heart squeeze and the valves opening and closing inside, I was hooked! Fast forward to today, I have been performing these scans independently for some time now and have worked in a number of senior roles, including research and service management, and yet I am still amazed by echocardiography on a regular basis and by those in the field (much smarter than me) using and developing the technology in new and innovative ways.

I joined XEC in May 2021 as a Regional Lead Echocardiographer after spending most of my career in the NHS. XEC offered me an exciting opportunity to continue my clinical profession, supporting the NHS in delivering echocardiography to patients across the North West region, and develop my professional knowledge and skills further in a company that is patient and quality-focused, forward-thinking and supportive of the contributions made by all of the team.

What specific skills and experience do you bring to the role?

The specific skills I bring to the regional lead role have been gained over the course of 20 years and are a mix of technical, people and clinical skills, and this role allows me to use them all daily.

Firstly, I would say a good understanding of the ongoing pressures echo services and the Physiologist and Healthcare Science workforce are under is extremely valuable. Secondly, the ability to maintain a steadfast focus on seeing patients as people (not just a number) and delivering high-quality services despite the pressures. Thirdly, a good working knowledge of ultrasound machines and reporting systems used across different sites and from a range of vendors. I would say finally one other skill is to remain open to new ideas and new ways of working that will benefit our patient’s health, service users, and our clinical workforce.

What are your responsibilities?

My role is to lead on, support, develop and promote the XEC Echocardiography Services in the North West of England. This includes working with our team, service users, echocardiographers, Clinicians and NHS Managers across sites to support NHS service delivery. Clinically, I continue to maintain my knowledge and skills by routinely running echo lists and training junior staff. I also support our Quality Lead in performing Quality Assurance Audits to ensure echocardiographers are working to national standards.

What does a typical day look like in your role?

A typical day for me can vary. As a Lead, I can be performing a clinical session one day or auditing a customer site the next, or I may be training a new recruit on their path to accreditation or even taking time for personal and professional development through online learning modules — or maybe even helping our marketing team out by writing a little about what a typical day looks like for me in my role. I think the point I am trying to make here is that a typical day working at XEC offers variety, and that keeps the role interesting.

What’s the best thing about being in the XEC team?

Writing this after nearly 18 months since joining XEC, I think I can say that my first impression of the company being supportive of its teams, flexible working arrangements, commitment to quality and forward-thinking vision holds true. Being part of the Diagnostics team is very inclusive, that is the case whether you work in the central office or remotely like me; you still feel part of the team. I am constantly kept informed and receive updates about new developments the company is working on and new opportunities available within the wider group. Xyla Elective Care is an exciting company to be a part of.

What does the next year hold for XEC? What are you excited about?

I look forward to welcoming some new faces to the team in 2023 as our diagnostic echo team grows and develops.

Click here to view our available echocardiographer roles!