Local surgeon elected President of British Laryngological Association

A nationally-renowned consultant surgeon and voice disorder specialist at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH) has been elected as the next President of the British Laryngological Association (BLA).

Mr Mark Watson, Consultant Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) Surgeon and a member of the BLA for around six years, will formally take up his Presidential role on 1 May 2019. As leader of the organisation, Mark hopes to promote work on voice disorders throughout the country and petition for greater understanding and prevention of voice box (larynx) disorders.

The larynx lies in the neck at the upper end of the windpipe and is part of the airway in the throat, lying behind and below your mouth and tongue. The function that it is best known for is the way in which it produces sound which we turn into voice, but it is also an important part of the upper airway (breathing passage).  Like any important organ, the larynx can be affected by tumours and other conditions, which has led to a specialist branch of medicine called Laryngology.

Mark has worked at DBTH since 1992, having completed his medical training in 1981 at Birmingham Medical School and initially practicing at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle. Alongside ENT colleagues and voice disorder specialists, he has helped to pioneer innovative and cutting-edge treatments throughout his career, leading to many surgical firsts for the region.

One such example has been the use of technology in the removal of laryngeal tumours. Utilising video equipment, provided by funding from the Doncaster Cancer Detection Trust in 2006 to diagnose tumours at an early stage, the pioneering surgery uses a carbon dioxide laser and general anaesthesia to remove the growths in around 20 minutes. This means a patient can come to hospital with cancer in the morning and leave later that day treated and free of the illness.

Commenting on becoming President-Elect, Mark said: “I am delighted and honoured to have been elected as President, being the first consultant to have been appointed within the north of England. As a passionate advocate for Laryngology as a speciality in its own right, I will use my role to further promote greater understanding of related conditions as well as preventative measures such as wider availability of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine.”

The British Laryngological Association was formed in 2012 as a way for ENT specialist to come together to share learning, best practice and create a network of professionals across the country. By the end of 2017, the BLA had welcomed 300 members into the organisation.

Richard Parker, Chief Executive at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals, said: “Mark is a credit to the organisation and I want to congratulate him on being elected President of the British Laryngological Association. Throughout his time at DBTH, Mark has provided outstanding care for his patients, contributing significantly to the field of Laryngology and has worked closely with colleagues to enhance local services. Mark’s reputation as one of the leading specialists in the country is well deserved and it’s a privilege to work alongside him.”

Mark will serve as President of the BLA from May 2019 until April 2021.