An interest in sports medicine further developed, even though it was not yet recognised as a medical specialty area, and saw Dr Bossingham become medical advisor to various sports clubs and sports players.
“My interest in sports medicine led me to becoming an advisor to Nottingham’s premier rugby club, the Trent Bridge county cricket club and later with the Marylebone Cricket Club at Lord’s cricket grounds. Until quite recently I continued to be medical advisor for the touring English cricket team.
“I was also sports medicine advisor for a pair of local ice dancers at the time, Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean who later achieved huge international fame.”
After 12 years in Nottingham, Dr Bossingham began looking for his next challenge and decided to take a gamble half-way around the world to take up a position as physician and rheumatologist at Cairns Base Hospital.
“After declining the suggestion to apply for senior university posts in both the UK and Australia, I noticed an advert for a physician and rheumatologist in Cairns. And so in January 1993, I became the first and only such specialist in Cairns and continued as such first as a Visiting Medical Officer and then as a staff specialist right up until 2015.
“In 1993 Cairns only had seven physicians on the on-call roster; a generalist director, a cardiologist, a thoracic medicine specialist, a gastroenterologist, an endocrinologist, a generalist/nephrologist, and myself."
“We had just three medical registrars and when on-call the registrar would cover not just medicine but would also rotate with the registrars of paediatrics and psychiatry as well. So as you can imagine, it was a steep learning curve for both the juniors and myself.
Just a few years later saw Dr Bossingham take up the newly-created position of Director of Clinical Training.
“I became the first Director of Clinical Training in Cairns in 1995 when we had just eight interns. I am proud to have seen some of our junior doctors from those early years become leaders in their field. For example, one is now the director of health care for the aged in Cairns, one is the director of dermatology at Oxford and another a clinical geneticist also at Oxford.”
Meanwhile Dr Bossingham continued to expand his own specialist medical practice by conducting outreach clinics in North Queensland’s Cape and Torres Strait Island regions.
“At the suggestion of the then Cairns Hospital Director of Medicine, I started an outreach service for rheumatology in the remote communities and towns of Weipa, Bamaga and Thursday Island.
“This introduced me to some new conditions and some very old rheumatology at the same time, particularly in relation to the diagnosis of rheumatic fever. I was also exposed to some new immunological syndromes which were still to be characterised and also saw patients previously treated for leprosy and subsequently diagnosed a new case myself.
“In the early years, we also watched as the prevalence of gout soared in the communities of the Cape and I collected information in an attempt to understand the high prevalence of lupus (SLE) in the Indigenous population.
“I then ended up writing about all of these outreach experiences in an article entitled ‘Bush Rheumatology or Rheumatologist gone Bush?’ which was published in the British Journal of Rheumatology.