Mark McBreen

Medical Illustration Service Manager

Graphic design may not be the first occupation that springs to mind when you consider careers in the NHS, but it is nevertheless a key role in the smooth functioning of a service-led integrated trust. Enter Mark McBreen, the Medical Illustration Service Manager at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust (SWBH). Joining the Trust 15 years ago as the sole designer to provide an in-house professional design service Mark (39) has witnessed many changes within the Trust in that time.

Mark explained: “Nowadays Medical Illustration is a very diverse department. One main function is to provide professional medical photographic services for patients, which helps clinicians to monitor patients’ progress. Our photographers work very closely with clinics and strictly within medical photography protocols to ensure that we take high quality medical photographs, which play a significant role in patients’ treatment plans. We also work with the Communications team to produce patient leaflets. We are one of the few NHS Trusts across England that meets the rigid criteria that the ‘Information Standard’ requires for patient leaflets. We believe that information for patients should be presented in a friendly format so that everyone can read and understand the important messages in the leaflet.”

Mark continued: “We also provide a full in-house graphics design and print service. Our print capability is brand new as we’ve invested in machinery to enable us to save NHS money by bringing our print in-house. We produce annual reports, staff magazines, patient information and marketing material including posters and banners to help the Trust run public information campaigns.

“We always invest our best efforts in designing our publications in a way that appeals to the public, as we know every message plays a part in helping protect health or advising sources of help for patients and their families.”

Mark is very keen on keeping NHS money within the Trust, as he explained: “I feel that it is the right thing to do and by encouraging people to use our service, our team can achieve that goal and help the Trust  use the saved money for other activities that can further improve patient experience.”

Mark lives in Fradley village, in Lichfield district, with his fiancé and two young children. In his spare time, he likes spending time with his family and enjoying the great outdoors. He has always been interested in keeping fit and goes to the gym to do cross fit training five or six times a week. He said: “I enjoy the challenge of pushing myself in the gym and extreme exercise. It helps me to focus, so I can be more effective at work.

“The design function has grown since I joined 15 years ago. There are now two other designers and an apprentice print technician in the small team. It is an enormously challenging job, with no two days ever the same, meaning opportunities to learn something new keep coming.”