My rewarding journey as a Faculty EDI lead and volunteer

Volunteering for the RCGP and taking on the South West Thames Faculty EDI lead role haven't just been about giving back to the profession - they've been instrumental in shaping my experience as a GP. Here's what drove me into these opportunities and how they've enriched my professional life.

Why EDI? Why volunteer?

Equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) are cornerstones of good healthcare. Every patient deserves to feel welcome and understood, and to receive the best possible care, regardless of their background. 

Witnessing disparities in healthcare firsthand motivated me to get involved in EDI efforts. I was particularly inspired by the efforts of the RCGP leadership team to lobby the government on the visa issues faced by International Medical Graduates on completing their GP training programme.

The RCGP's commitment to EDI resonated with me, and the chance to contribute as a volunteer felt like a perfect fit. The College and my local Faculty, South West Thames, offered a supportive environment to make a real difference.

What I set out to do, and what I've achieved

As the EDI lead in my local Faculty board, I wanted to raise awareness of EDI issues within the Faculty and find ways to improve inclusivity in our practices. This involved raising these issues during Faculty board meetings, organizing, and participating in workshops and events focused on these issues. 

I've also met and network with many other EDI leads of RCGP Faculties across the country, and learned about the incredible ideas and work that is taking place to address issues. It's been incredibly rewarding to see these initiatives take root. I see a growing openness to discussing EDI issues among colleagues.

Beyond the role: How the RCGP enhances my practice

Being a volunteer on my local Faculty board connects me to a wider GP community. Through volunteering, I've met inspiring colleagues who share my passion for EDI and general practice. These connections have fostered a sense of belonging and provided valuable learning opportunities.

Volunteering has also sharpened my leadership skills and given me a platform to contribute to positive change within the profession. These experiences directly translate into my daily practice, allowing me to better serve my patients, the community, and advocate for a better access to healthcare for all.

Being a GP is a privilege. Building relationships with patients, guiding them through their healthcare journey, and making a reasonable difference in their lives is incredibly fulfilling. Volunteering with the RCGP adds another dimension to this joy by allowing me to contribute to the profession.

Are you thinking of getting involved?

If you're passionate about EDI or simply want to get more involved in the GP community, I urge you to consider volunteering with the RCGP. There are numerous opportunities available, and the College provides excellent support throughout your volunteering journey.

Remember: every contribution, big or small, makes a difference. So, take the leap, and discover how volunteering can enrich your professional experience as a GP. Maybe you could lead your own local Faculty on EDI matters, and meet other volunteers at the annual members' summit at the RCGP headquarters in London.

Find out more about volunteering at the RCGP, and the RCGP's EDI initiatives.

About the writers

Dr Damilola Sogbesan headshot

Dr Damilola Sogbesan

South West Thames Faculty

Dr Damilola Sogbesan is a GP based in Hampshire and works with Southern Hampshire Primary Care Alliance, a provider of NHS services. He is also the Founder of Consultdoc Ltd, an independent online doctor platform authorised and regulated by the Care Quality Commission. He is currently the Honorary Secretary and EDI lead for the South West Thames Faculty.