Q&A with Konrad Obiora

Posted on: Wednesday 31 May 2023
Author: FPM

After 17 years with FPM, our Specialty Training Manager Konrad Obiora sadly bid farewell to us at the end of May 2023. His legacy with FPM and pharmaceutical medicine has long since been secured and he leaves huge shoes for someone to fill. Konrad will be particularly familiar to our Specialty Trainees who he has assisted in negotiating PMST to become specialist registrants.

Konrad’s departure has been known to a small section of staff, colleagues and trainees, and from peoples’ reactions to the news it’s clear that everyone has considered it an enormous pleasure and privilege to work with him over the years. Colleagues have cited his professionalism, wealth of knowledge and friendly manner. His commitment to specialty training has led to colleagues bestowing on him the unofficial title of ‘Mr PMST’.

By way of signing off, we asked Konrad to reflect on his time with FPM.

1. Can you share how you came to work for FPM?

The job I applied for was Deputy Education Administrator and I think I found the advert in the job section of the website of a national newspaper. I remember my interview was held in a meeting room on the basement floor of 6 St Andrew’s Place a few doors down from FPM’s office – at that time FPM was using that room for some of its committee meetings as well as rooms at the Royal College Physicians (RCP).

The interviewers were Kathryn Swanston, the Chief Executive, Laura Cooper, my future line manager and Dr Jane Barret who was the Registrar. It was the friendliest and relaxed interview I had experienced, and the interview panel put me at ease.

2. What have been your top three memories with FPM?

My top three memories would have to be:

  1. FPM annual symposia at the RCP; it was all hands on deck carrying materials from 1 St Andrew’s Place to the lower ground reception area at the RCP, setting the rooms up and registering delegates. It was always very busy, but it was also nice to chat with some the delegates and putting faces to names.
  2. Visits to Boehringer Ingelheim and GSK as part of FPM’s pilot quality assurance visits to PMST training sites.
  3. The Postgraduate Medical and Education Training Board’s (PMETB’s) review of FPM’s specialty training programme in December 2009. The PMETB’s visit team met the specialty training team, trainees, educational supervisors and senior specialty advisers at the RCP, a few pharmaceutical companies that volunteered to act as hosting sites and by videoconference. It was the first time I coordinated a regulatory visit – it was also the first time I attended a meeting in the RCP’s Censors Room.

3. What projects have you been particularly proud to be involved in?

I was pleased that the PMETB visit went well. I used videoconferencing for the first time so that trainees based in AstraZeneca’s Macclesfield site could meet the PMETB visit team who were in London and I was grateful to Boehringer Ingelheim, Roche Products and Sanofi for volunteering to act as hosting sites for the visit team to meet trainees and educational supervisors who worked in those regions.

The other project that I was proud to be involved in was the writing of the PMST 2021 curriculum. I had written or co-written several curriculum applications before, but this was the first time I coordinated the writing of a new curriculum from the early stages right through to the GMC’s final approval. The new curriculum would not have been possible without Professor Peter Stonier’s leadership of the project and the expertise across the specialty of the 50 volunteers who worked on the specialty and generic capabilities in practice (CiPs).

4. How has FPM changed over the years?

The two noticeable changes that I saw were the size of the staff grow from an office of four to 16 permanent members of staff and FPM moving from a small basement floor office to occupying an office building. Within my work area, there were a few major changes; the first was abolition of the PMETB and its functions transferred to the General Medical Council, the use of trainee e-portfolios and the delivery of the Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP) meetings online, which was first an interim measure during the COVID-19 lockdowns and then became a permanent process.

5. FPM has moved offices three times during your time working for the organisation. Which one was your favourite location?

The first move was from one part of the basement floor of 1 St Andrew’s Place to the other part because another organisation had relocated – does that count as an office move? My favourite location in terms of local environment was St Andrew’s Place because Regent’s Park was next door. My favourite location in terms of office space was Furnival Street, which was more spacious than 1 St Andrew’s Place.