I wanted to be an expert generalist, rather than becoming overly focussed on one field of medicine. I wanted to develop long term doctor-patient relationships, because I think continuity of care is therapeutic in medicine.
What's the best thing about being a GP?
Variety. Not only the case-mix of patients, but the flexibility and the myriad career options GPs can pursue.
What's the most frustrating thing about being a GP?
I love the job, but it comes with constraints – system, regulatory, financial, workforce and so on – which take a toll on our autonomy, our wellbeing and our work-life balance. As a result, GPs can end up suffering from burnout.
What are you most proud about in your career?
Being awarded an MBE for the work I’ve done, with ethnic minority communities and learning disability patients to help reduce the health and social inequalities they face.
How challenging has the pandemic been?
It’s been challenging. It’s thrown up VUCA: volatility, uncertainty, confusion, and ambiguity. We’ve had to deal with the loss of our friends and family, and the mental health and social challenges of lockdown and self-isolation. But we’ve learnt lessons – for example about working differently and at pace, and retaining resilience – and I look forward to putting them into practice moving forward.
What has been the most important lesson you've learnt during your career?
If you choose the easy short-term path, your life will be hard in the long-term. And if you choose the difficult thing to do at the time, your life will be easier in the long-term. It’s a career lesson and a life lesson.
Why do you think it's important to be a College member?
It’s a fantastic way to network and build strong professional relationships. I think like most things in life, you get out what you put in. Your contribution can make real change, and the College is ultimately there to improve patient care, which is what we’re all in it for.
What would you be if you weren't a GP?