Meet Dr Bern-Mari

Why did I choose to become a doctor?

Well, to answer this question we need to rewind about 30 years... My father was a Medical Doctor with his own GP practice and while living in Cape Town, South Africa, he would come home and often share some of his medical stories from the day. Being in Africa, some were pretty interesting! I loved hearing how he made a difference to families lives, so this probably unconsciously planted the idea of becoming a doctor in my mind from a young age...

After 8 years of growing up in the South African sunshine, my parents decided they wanted our family to have the opportunity to explore Europe! We settled in the UK and very soon it became our new home. I was fortunate in that I was able to attend a wonderful school for my secondary school education. I thoroughly enjoyed my hospital work experience during my teenage years, which helped narrow down my potential career choices. I could see how my interest in science, my caring nature and strong people skills could lend itself to a career in medicine…  so, from then on, I threw all my energy and efforts into my goal of becoming a doctor.

Entering Medical school in the UK is a particularly tough process, so I was delighted when I got accepted to study Medicine and opted to study at Cardiff University in Wales. The 6 years of medical training flew by and were filled with multiple hospital rotations throughout the whole of Wales. My highlight was going in a RAF rescue helicopter as part of a training rescue mission in Anglesey while Prince William worked there as a pilot!

During my university holidays I worked as a Home Carer for frail patients as well as fundraising for a charity to help run outreach programmes at orphanages and villages in Malawi, Africa. I had the privilege of going out to Malawi on 3 occasions, a beautiful country but where communities are hugely impacted by HIV Aids and Malaria. I witnessed first-hand the devastating impact of disease in rural communities and this sparked my passion for general community, family and preventative medicine.

Since graduating from Medical School, I completed my 2 hospital foundation years in Guildford, Surrey where I met, and soon married my very supportive husband who became my rock through the testing and physically exhaustingly long junior doctor rotations, for which the NHS is well known for! At this point I had clear direction of becoming a GP and was delighted to have then been accepted to complete my GP training at the world-renowned John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford. This was a particularly happy period in my medical training journey as I would balance long hours at the hospital with exploring the city of Oxford, with its unique architecture and 12th century University buildings while also trying my hand at punting down the river Thames on occasion! The Cotswold countryside was also where we then settled and began to raise our beautiful (but busy) boys.

My interests are varied: I absolutely love travelling and exploring other countries and cultures. We would often hop over to the continent to have dinner (always mussels!) in Bruges, or an art trip to galleries in Paris or Florence, all on our doorstep. I believe that the best way to truly relax is on a beach... and over the past 20 years I think we must have explored most of the islands in the Mediterranean! My hobbies are painting and photography and I just love gathering inspiration for my next big piece of art... I think I’m running out of wall space!

In 2018 we will have gone “full circle” back to the Southern Hemisphere when we embark on our joint lifelong dream, to give our children the outdoor and nature filled upbringing which we had growing up! I look forward to using my experiences and skills to improve the health and wellbeing of patients in Redland Bay and surrounding areas!

I am particularly interested in working with patients in the fields of Women's health, Paediatric and Adolescent health, Mental health, Geriatrics, Chronic disease management, Oncology and Palliative care.Since graduating from Medical School, I completed my 2 hospital foundation years in Guildford, Surrey where I met, and soon married my very supportive husband who became my rock through the testing and physically exhaustingly long junior doctor rotations, for which the NHS is well known for! At this point I had clear direction of becoming a GP and was delighted to have then been accepted to complete my GP training at the world-renowned John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford. This was a particularly happy period in my medical training journey as I would balance long hours at the hospital with exploring the city of Oxford, with its unique architecture.

Dr Bern-Mari