Nicola Fearnhead completed her preclinical medical training at Pembroke College, Cambridge before going on to Merton College, Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar for her clinical training and graduating from medical school in 1993. Early surgical training was undertaken in Bristol followed by Specialist Registrar training, including a two-year period in genetic research, in the Oxford region finishing in 2004.
She spent 2005 at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, USA, as the prestigious International Fellow in Advanced Colorectal Surgery. Ms Fearnhead was appointed to Addenbrooke’s Hospital as a Consultant Colorectal Surgeon in January 2006. There she contributed to the Cambridge Colorectal Unit’s position as one of the 5 Trusts with the lowest death rates for colorectal cancer surgery in the UK since 2006.
Her clinical interests include all aspects of colorectal surgery, including colorectal cancer, laparoscopic colorectal surgery, pelvic floor disorders, colonoscopy, inflammatory bowel disease, bowel cancer screening and anorectal disorders. She is a member of the Multidisciplinary Pelvic Floor Team at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.
She has subspecialty interests in surgery for sphincter injuries, rectovaginal fistula and anal cancer. She has a local and tertiary referral practice in pelvic exenteration, the challenging multidisciplinary surgery that may offer the only hope of cure to patients with recurrent or very advanced rectal cancer.
Miss Fearnhead introduced TEMS (transanal endoscopic microsurgery), a minimally invasive technique for treating rectal polyps and early rectal cancer to Addenbrooke’s in 2007. She has kept abreast of developments in the field of colorectal surgery and was the first surgeon in Cambridge to perform extralevator abdomino-perineal excision of rectum (ELAPE), a procedure designed to improve outcomes for patients with locally advanced low rectal cancer. She has also been an innovator in sphincter-preserving fistula surgery, introducing the Anal Fistula Plug (AFP) in 2006 and the Over The Scope Clip (OTSC) in 2013.
Miss Fearnhead is committed to training the next generation of surgeons. She is an Educational Supervisor, ran the regional training days for Specialty Registrars in Surgery from 2008 to 2013, is an interviewer for national selection of surgical trainees, was instrumental in the formation of a regional trainee surgical research collaborative, lectures regionally and nationally, and is an examiner for Cambridge University medical examinations. She has taught on many surgical courses and developed new courses aimed at improving colorectal and trauma care.
Treatments and tests offered by Ms Nicola Fearnhead at Nuffield Health
- Gastroscopy (or gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy)
- Antral washout
- Transanal haemorrhoid dearterialisation (THD)
- Therapeutic Endoscopy
- Abdominoperineal resection
- Hernia repair
- Colorectal screening
- Rectal examination under anaesthetic (or rectal EUA)
- Pelvic floor repair
- Colorectal surgery
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy
- Diagnostic endoscopy
- Anterior resection
Miss Fearnhead’s doctoral thesis examined the role of genetic predisposition to colorectal cancer in the general population. She has maintained a strong interest in clinical research as an NHS Consultant and has several publications in different aspects of colorectal surgery. Recent work includes a meta-analysis of fertility after ileoanal pouch surgery for inflammatory bowel disease. Ongoing research activity includes:
- Local Principal Investigator of the multicentre randomised trial CReST that is comparing intraluminal stenting with emergency surgery in patients with large bowel obstruction due to cancer.
- Chief Investigator for FOFACT, a multicentre observational study of functional outcomes for patients following anal cancer treatment.
- Co-Investigator in a number of anal cancer studies
- Member of the Trial Management Group for the multicentre prospective randomised trial HiP that will compare surgical techniques for rectal cancer.
Miss Fearnhead is the current chair of the Research & Audit Committee of the Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland (ACPGBI), a member of the ACPGBI Executive, and Trustee of the Bowel Disease Research Foundation. She is leading a national audit into the causes of death in patients who die after colorectal cancer surgery. Miss Fearnhead is a member of the National Cancer Research Institute Colorectal CSG surgical subgroup. In 2013, she chaired the Royal College of Surgeons Committee that produced the National Commissioning Guidance for Management of Rectal Bleeding, which set quality standards to reduce variation in care of patients.
- Medical Defence Union
- Royal College of Surgeons (Eng)
- Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland
- Royal Society of Medicine
- British Medical Association
- East Anglian Surgical Society
Other posts held
- Consultant Colorectal Surgeon, Addenbrookes Hospital
Insurers Ms Nicola Fearnhead works with
Ms Nicola Fearnhead works with the following private medical insurance providers:
- Aviva Health
- AXA Health
- CS Healthcare
- Exeter Family Friendly
- Vitality Health (Pru Health)
Ms Nicola Fearnhead does not hold a share or financial interest in this hospital, another Nuffield Health hospital or the company.
Ms Nicola Fearnhead does not have a share or financial interest in equipment used at this hospital or another Nuffield Health hospital.
Ms Nicola Fearnhead does not hold any paid advisory role(s) at this hospital or on behalf of Nuffield Health.