From 'Hermit' to being elected for RCGP National Council

At some point...

I am a naturally outgoing person, but for certain reasons after I qualified as a GP in August 2017, I decided to keep to myself, and get to grips with working as an independent GP. I started out as a locum / sessional GP and an OOH / urgent care GP.

I absolutely love being a GP. #ChooseGP

Something happened...

During the uprising of this terrible COVID-19 pandemic and after a stark reminder of ongoing Racial Inequalities, I heard about the RCGP COVID-19 members forum, which I joined and stumbled upon the EDI (Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion) conversations. There was a call for GPs from BAME background to get involved with Task Groups to help shape the RCGP BAME Action Plan.

I opted to join 2 of the 5 Task Groups (CPD and Stakeholders groups) where we held a series of mostly productive meetings. This inspired me to become more active in my local Faculty (Northwest England).

Fortunately, we ran monthly Zoom drop-in meetings, which I attended to familiarise myself with the North West Faculty, the Chair, board members and others. I then put myself forward for a board member position and in Nov 2020 became one of the Deputy Council Reps. I have since attended and contributed to our Faculty Board meetings, which has been great.

After that, I joined the First5 Committee, and we have discussions about how we can best serve and connect with our Faculty's First5 GPs. In Oct 2020 I featured in the College's Black History Month celebration, telling a part of my story. It felt a bit surreal seeing it actually posted. But also, really nice and encouraging to see.

So, what changed? What happened? Where did the 'hermit' go?

In short answers:

  • George Floyd happened
  • COVID-19 happened
  • Life happened

I became fully convinced that I needed to do and be seen more, and one significant reason was to contribute to the representation of Black medics/GPs. I am also very keen on supporting and advocating for peers and colleagues and being both a member and leader in the College gives me opportunity to do this.

"If you can't see it... you can't be it..."

And now...

In March 2021, after discussions with some of my dear colleagues, friends and family, I decided to stand for the RCGP National Council elections. It was an honour and pleasure to be nominated and stand alongside other esteemed colleagues. I really enjoyed engaging with members and sharing my manifesto message.

Then on 30 July 2021 while at work I received a congratulatory call, from the Chief Operating Officer, that I had been elected into council. I am still coming to terms with it and the understanding that I am the first Black male GP to be on the RCGP National Council.

In summary...

I was interested in change. Keen on participating. This required me to volunteer myself, sacrifice time and resources to become part of the conversation and instrumental to working as a team player at every level of the RCGP. I stepped out, I stepped up.

About the writer

Dr. Uwadiae Ima-Edomwonyi (MBBS MRCGP) is a Sessional/Locum GP at NHS Tameside & Glossop CCG and an OOH GP/Clinical Supervisor at Mastercall Healthcare. He is a nationally elected RCGP Council Member (from Nov 2021), and Faculty Board Member (Deputy Council Rep) for the RCGP North West England Faculty. He is also a GP Assessor (GPST recruitment entry exams) for HEE NW.

Follow Uwa on LinkedIn.