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Regulatory Body

  • General Medical Council - 3329823

Miss Helen Fernandes


Consultant Neurosurgeon

I've been operating for 25 years. I am a safe, knowledgeable pair of hands for my patients. I have 3 children, 5 cats, 2 dogs and 10 chickens.

    • Interests

    • Adult & paediatric neurosurgery
    • Sciatica
    • Low back pain
    • cervical disc prolapse
    • cervical myelopathy
    • hydrocephalus
    • Expertise

    • Neurosurgery
    • Spinal surgery
    • Complex spine and paediatrics
I am a Consultant Neurosurgeon at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. From childhood, I was convinced I wanted to be a surgeon. I set out after my House Officer year to secure an Anatomy Demonstrator’s job for a year, followed by 2 years on the equivalent of a core training programme and I finally started my Neurosurgical training in 1994. About the same time I found out I was pregnant with Alex. A research period produced Lauren, and a MD thesis, in fact I think I was the first Royal College Fellow to take maternity leave! Finally just before CCST along came Oliver.

I didn’t choose surgery I think, it chose me! My father was an Orthopaedic Surgeon and I guess he influenced me from an early age. Not that he encouraged me, at first. His training was hard, lengthy and difficult. I think he felt it an unsuitable road for a young girl. I had to prove him wrong! I came across Neurosurgery as a SHO. I had already planned a career in ENT, much more family friendly, I thought. I actually started training in ENT but couldn’t settle and returned to Neurosurgery. I have not looked back or regretted that decision once, quite the opposite.

I am motivated by the fact that a surgical pursuit puts you in charge, challenges you mentally and sometimes physically. I like being part of a team where good communication and understanding are paramount. The personal satisfaction one can take from the right operation, performed well, in a grateful patient, with good results is unsurpassable.

I would have to say, in general, my seniors - that is, the consultants I was working for over the years - have been very supportive. At times my peers were perhaps not so. I was, however, always very careful to make sure that I left the minimum amount of work for others, and that when on-call I was happy to take on other people's work. Somehow I seemed to muddle through and was appointed a consultant in the unit where I trained, which perhaps speaks for itself!

The surgical profession, I think, is a very proud profession, and rightly so. We need to be able to attract the best, whatever sex, race, background, political view or otherwise. With a change in demographics of the entrants to medical school, there needs to be change in the traditional source of surgeons, and to maintain our high standards we need to account for this and make sure that the profession is attractive to all.

I am passionate about surgery but equally passionate about making it transparently obvious to schoolgirls, medical students and young trainees that it is quite possible to perform at a high level both as a surgeon and as a woman. And if that includes having children, all the better.


MB BS University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne
FRCS (Primary)Royal College of Surgeons of England 1
FRCS (C Si G) Royal College of Surgeons of England 1993

Intercollegiate FRCS Surgical Neurology 2000

MD University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne


• Police Surgeon (Northumbria Police) 1990-1994

Examining, preparing reports and appearing in Court, supporting victims of rape and serious sexual abuse

• Writing Medical Reports since 2002

• Several Court appearances as expert witness

• Types of Report

Personal injury, claimant 50%
Personal injury, defence 40%
Personal injury, joint 10%

Paediatric non-accidental injury, defendant 40%
Paediatric non-accidental injury, prosecution 40%
Paediatric non-accidental injury, joint 20%

Medical negligence, claimant 30%
Medical negligence, defendant 70%

• Time to Appointment

Less than 4 weeks (urgent by special arrangement)

• Time to report

Less than 4 weeks after records and copy scans available (urgent by special arrangement)

Overall Satisfaction

1  1  1  1  1 

Overall Bedside Manner

1  1  1  1  1 

Overall Waiting Time

1  1  1  1  1 


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I work in the NHS

  • Consultant Neurosurgeon, Addenbrooke's NHS Trust, Department of Neurosurgery, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge


  • English