Dr Kathryn Speedy

Dr Kathryn Speedy was originally born in South East England – but with a father serving in the RAF, the family found themselves moving to a different part of the UK every couple of years. One of the places she moved to with her family was North Wales. It was while living here that Kathryn first fell in love with Wales and she has since decided to train to become a doctor and raise her own family here. 

Kathryn states: 

"Even as a young child, I always had an interest in medicine and science. After undertaking some work experience as a teenager in a local hospital, I found that I really enjoyed seeing the doctors working at their various jobs and tasks and it was then that I decided that I wanted to attend medical school and train to become a doctor. It was while undertaking my final year project in child and adolescent mental health services, that I found my true passion and where I felt I could make the biggest difference.  

"Although I am the first person in my family to become a doctor, my parents were very proud and supportive of my career decision. I chose to train and study at Cardiff University medical school as one of my friends who was studying there highly recommended it. I knew that she was really enjoying living in Cardiff also, which made me feel like it would be the best move for me. 

"After finishing medical school, I decided to stay in Wales and complete my foundation training. I felt this was the best decision as I knew the way the NHS worked in Wales, and a lot of my peers were staying here also. I completed my F1 in Haverfordwest, which was an amazing experience as I had a fantastic and supportive training environment and would even go to the beach with all my friends after work.  

"I then returned to Cardiff to complete my second foundation year in a great placement that I feel really helped my career. The subjects I studied in my foundation were very broad and included general medicine, general surgery and psychiatric placement. I also undertook paediatric placement and later applied for my core psychiatry training in Wales as well, as it offered a great work/life balance, I had built up a good professional network and I enjoyed how friendly and supportive everyone was.  

"I chose to stay in Wales again for my higher training in child and adolescent psychiatry and have been based in Cardiff and Vale University Health Board for the last 18 months. In early 2024 I am moving to Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board where I will be working on a Tier 4 inpatient unit. Higher training enables you to experience different working environments and we often move between health boards. Having a single lead employer has made this more straightforward to do.  

"I have completed most of my training as a flexible trainee. My experience has been that the NHS in Wales is very accepting and welcoming of flexible trainees, so if you have a young family or plan to have children at some point, they will do everything possible to accommodate you and allow you to find the work/life balance that suits you. My supervisors and mentors have been incredibly supportive of me and my personal circumstances. 

"If I had to pick something that I have been most proud of in my career so far, I would say that I am very proud of juggling being a mother and a doctor. There are so many demands on my time, but I have managed to get though everything that I needed to, including my exams! It is not easy completing two written papers and doing the practical exam (CASC) with young children. I also won a “best trainee” award in 2017, which really meant a lot to me, and it is something I am very proud of. 

"Looking to the future, I see myself staying in Wales and becoming a child psychiatrist Consultant, with a focus on working in the community. I have become interested in sustainable healthcare, having been a Green Scholar at the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 2020-21, and currently a Sustainability Fellow at HEIW. As a consultant psychiatrist, I also want to help facilitate the shift to a more sustainable mental healthcare service in the next five to ten years.  

"Living in south Wales provides so many different options to enjoy the outdoors as a family. We often go to the beach, woodlands and the amazing mountains which are right on our doorstep. I am also aware of how much of a difference the house price situation plays in quality of life. Here I can afford to give my family the type of home that is suitable for a large family to live in. If I was living in one of the bigger English cities, I would never be able to afford anything as comparable as the house I am living in now. Living in Newport also means that I am right on the doorstep of Cardiff, which provides excellent shopping, entertainment and travel links.  

"Some of my extended family were not too sure about my choice to live and work in Wales. This was largely due to misconceptions about the Welsh language as they assumed that you had to speak Welsh to work in Wales. This is not the case and I have not been limited by being a fluent Welsh speaker. However, I have started taking Welsh lessons and hopefully one day converse in Welsh with patients who prefer to speak in that language. My children attend Welsh medium education, and all have Welsh names, so I have fully embraced Welsh culture now! 

"If anyone is thinking about coming to train or work in Wales, I would highly recommend it. I have found that living and working in a smaller country like Wales allows you to build a closer professional network and provides opportunities that I may not have had elsewhere. It has been an amazing experience for me and one that I have thoroughly enjoyed and have been supported every step of the way."

Your privacy

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience, please accept these so we can deliver a more reliable service.

To find out more, read our privacy statement and cookie policy.

Manage preferences