Geoff Kewley

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I have been living in the UK for the past 11 years and had been hoping to get out to Australia for the Reunion. However, unfortunately, it has turned out not to be possible. I hope, however, that with all the momentum etc that the Committee has developed, that it will be decided to have more frequent get-togethers in the future and possibly I will be able to catch up at some future date. I am very disappointed not to be able to come and wish you all well with the evening.

Here is my biography:

After leaving NSBHS, I studied medicine at Sydney University. After a couple of years in hospital residency at Prince of Wales and then North Shore Hospitals, I went overseas and spent several years working and travelling in Africa, England and Canada. During this time, I trained as a paediatrician and, on return to Australia in 1974, having married Jane in 1973 in the UK, commenced practice as a Consultant Paediatrician in Gosford, where I was for the next 16 years until 1990.

I went to Gosford at a time when the Central Coast was starting to change from having been a retirement/holiday area to the residential area with easy access to Sydney that it is now. The Hospital went from being a Cottage Hospital to the large operation it is today and the paediatric service went from nothing to being quite a busy Unit. I was involved in many of these changes in the medical area. During this time, I founded the Central Coast Grammar School and was on its Board for several years during that period.

For most of the eighties, as a way of having some relief from the rigours of paediatric practice, I ran a 1,400 acre sheep and cattle property in the Liverpool Range nort of Merrina - a tremendously challenging and exciting exercise through several years of drought and difficult times.

I also co-edited a book on Common Paediatric Problems, as a result of editing a monthly newsletter at the Sydney Children's Hospital that went to all GPs in New South Wales as an exercise in developing general practitioner awareness of paediatric problems.

In 1990, with our 3 daughters, we relocated to the UK, where I continued as a Consultant Paediatrician initially within the National Health Service. However, I rapidly became frustrated by the inadequacies of the system and became increasingly concerned at the inadequacies of the delivery of children's mental health services. Prior to leaving Australia and increasingly in the UK, I further developed my long-standing interest in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and related neurodevelopmental conditions, of which at the time there was virtually no recognition in the UK within children's mental health or special needs education services.

Since 1993 I have, therefore, had a significant input into the way in which UK psychology, psychiatric and educational establishments manage and understand these biological conditions and in the delivery of more effective services. I have thus been involved in more than a little controversy over the last few years and am generally regarded as a pioneer of change in this field! It has been rewarding and gratifying in having played a key part in facilitating these important changes in children's mental health and special education needs provision.

I have become particularly interested in the large numbers of adolescents and young adults with untreated ADHD and related problems who end up being excluded from school or in Youth Offending Institutions and in the Criminal Justice and Substance Abuse Systems and how, by effective management, this can be prevented or helped.

In parallel with the above, in 1993 I established and have developed a large multidisciplinary cllinic near London which assesses and manages such children, adolescents and adults from all over the UK and Europe. It is regarded as a leading clinic in the management of these difficulties. I lecture widely throughout the UK and Europe. I also frequently write for professional journals and have written a definitive book on ADHD for professionals and parents which is well regarded and for which I have recently done an Australian edition, published by the Australian Council for Educational Research. The book has also been translated into Japanese.

I have thus enjoyed the diversity and challenging nature of my professional work, both in general paediatrics initially and in more recent years in the field of neurobiology and ADHD. I have particularly enjoyed not only helping a large number of individuals with these conditions but also having a significant impact on the way in which Society and the professions view these problems. All this has meant that I have stayed in the UK longer than I had anticipated. My daughters are almost independent now with Alison at University in Sydney, studying science. Emily is also doing science at Bristol in the UK and very much an outdoor person. My eldest daughter, Heather, is working in London in personnel recruitment. I plan retiring to Australia in a few years' time.