My guest this week is the powerhouse that is Dr Neela Janakiramanan. In her own words Neela is a reconstructive plastic surgeon who spends most of her time playing with power tools to fix hands and wrists, while accidentally teaching, mentoring, writing, and fighting the patriarchy. She can also change a flat tyre and operate a barbecue. Neela was schooled in Melbourne and completed her medical degree at Monash University in 2003. She immediately commenced surgical training and was awarded Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in 2014, having trained in major Melbourne hospitals including St. Vincent’s Hospital, The Alfred, Austin Health, Monash Health, Peninsula Health, Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute and the Victorian Plastic Surgery Unit. During this time, Neela combined the rigours of surgical training with completing a Masters of Public Health through Monash University, graduating from that degree in 2010. This gave Neela a grounding in research methodology as well as health programme development and implementation, particularly in poor settings.

Neela’s CV is incredibly impressive the through line of which is a keen passion for justice and equality. Neela has been a fierce public advocate for change within the medical profession. She was instrumental in the Medevac Bill which was a law that was passed by the Australian Government providing critically sick refugees and people seeking asylum held in offshore detention a pathway to be transferred to Australia for urgent medical treatment. It was passed because of professionals like Neela who encouraged doctors from across Australia to write letters to their local MPs. Aside from her public work as a commentator (she has often been called on to speak about the issues facing the medical profession during the Covid19 pandemic) Neela has just written a brilliant unputdownable book called The Registrar which is out now. It is a fictional story about a new registrar called Emma Swann and as well as being a great read is also a deep look at our broken hospital system and the way it treats the people charged with our care. In this episode we discuss what it is like for women working within our hospital system that is often deeply patriarchal, sexist, racist and rife with bullying.

For more from Neela you can find her on her website on instragram @drneelaj and to purchase a copy of The Registrar (which you should do immediately) you can head to any good book store or here

For more from Claire you can head to or @clairetonti on instagram

You can email the show at [email protected]

Show credits:

Editing – RAW Collings and Claire Tonti

Theme music – Avocado Junkie