South West Thames Faculty

Welcome from South West Thames Faculty

A warm welcome from South West Thames Faculty. We provide support to over 2100 Members, Fellows, Associates and AiTs in Surrey, West Sussex and the outer fringes of South West London. As well as a full range of educational and social activities, we run a revalidation programme for local members in collaboration with the South East Thames Faculty and Health Education England Ken, Surrey and Sussex.

Get involved

We hold three Board meetings a year (in February, June, September) and an AGM in November, to develop our engagement events and activities as well as discussing issues relevant to our members, which we feed back to the College Council. We rely on members to play an active role locally, promoting the College's aims and objectives. It is essential to raise and maintain awareness of demographic issues and the needs of GPs and patients alike, so that we can support these. If you would like to find out more about becoming more involved with the Faculty we would be delighted to hear from you.

Below are dates our 2021 Faculty Board meetings and 2021 AGM. The meetings are open to all interested members, and are delivered remotely. The meetings run from 19:30 to 20:30.

  • Tuesday 15 June
  • Tuesday 14 September
  • Thursday 11 November (AGM)

Please note: We hope to deliver our November 2021 AGM face to face, new members and new Fellows have a complimentary place at the AGM.

If you are interested in any meetings, please get in touch at

South West Thames Educational update:

Virtual meetings delivered

  • COVID-19: First lessons and observations in primary care
  • The varied life of General Practice: A talk aimed at First5 GPs interested in the opportunities available in General Practice
  • First Later Career and Retired Members (LCARM) Event
  • The Impact of Genomic Medicine in Primary Care: now and the future
  • The New Appraisal Talk
  • CPD talk - NICEr for women: managing bleeding problems in primary care
  • Our Strategies for Dealing with Your Upcoming RCA Exam
  • Wellbeing
  • Pilates (ongoing)
  • Sexual Health with Anne Connolly
  • Versus Arthritis
  • SW Thames Balint group (ongoing)

SW Thames Education Leads, Dr Sam Samaratunga and Dr Rasiha Nurani, have organised a number of great virtual presentations and meetings for our members over the course of the last few months. These events aim to address the diverse needs and interests of a wide range of members across our Faculty.

A webinar on 'Our Strategies for Dealing with Your Upcoming RCA Exam' aimed at AiTs was a very popular session allowing attendees to ask questions around RCA exam preparations. Following on from a successful event on women's health held in October 2020, we have just held our second event with Dr Anne Connelly in March 2021, which this time focused on sexual health. It was well attended and received and accordingly, we are planning a further session on a different topic later this year. Please look out for this event and book a place as they fill up fast.  We also held an event with Versus Arthritis (which was formed by the merger of Arthritis UK and Arthritis Care) in January 2021 in collaboration with 2 other RCGP Faculties. As patients presenting with arthritic and musculoskeletal problems are frequently encountered in our daily work, we are aiming to hold a further event with Versus Arthritis later this year.

Earth Day is on 22 April 2021 and on this day, people across the globe come together to show their support for environmental protection. We have organised a Planetary health event on Earth Day which will be held jointly with Essex Faculty and RCGP Junior International committee. Following successful talk last year, we are also organising an event in July 2021 which provide an update (topic to be decided) from the RCGP Research and Surveillance Centre, one year on from the start of the COVID pandemic. Our Provost, Prof. de Lusignan, is the Director of the RSC and we are fortunate to have him again as the speaker.

The health and wellbeing of GPs is paramount in these difficult times and we have been mindful to incorporate some events into our programme. We ran a Wellbeing event in December 2020 incorporating three talks and a yoga session and we began weekly Pilates sessions hosted by an experienced Pilates instructor on Wednesday evenings, starting at 18:45. These sessions have proved to be popular and have built up a regular following, so we are aiming to continue these sessions after April 2021.

Over the next six months we will hold an SWT Balint Group with Dr David Watt, former president of the Balint Society. The first session was held on 8 March and went very well and David will hold a session each month for six months with a small group of GPs to discuss the relationship between doctor and patient. Look out for all these and other wellbeing events on the RCGP Wellbeing webpage.

Virtual meetings coming up:

Wednesday evenings - 7 April, 21 April, 28 April, 5 May & 12 May - 18:45 - 19:45 - Pilates

The SW Thames Faculty are pleased to announce further sessions focused on your wellbeing through Pilates classes over the months of April and May hosted by our education lead Dr Sam Samaratunga who will introduce our  Pilates instructor - Sharon Ayre.

Register for classes

Thursday 22 April 19:00 - 20:30 - Earth Day Webinar

The RCGP Junior International Committee in collaboration with both South West Thames and Essex Faculties look forward to welcoming you at this evening webinar event on Planetary Health and Global Primary Care.

The event is taking place on Earth Day, a day where people across the globe come together to show their support for environmental protection.

Planetary health is an increasingly important field incorporating global health, public health and environmental science. By improving ecosystems and our relationship with our natural environment, we can improve the health of humans around the world and reduce the impact that climate change will have on our health. As GPs, there are many things we can do to take action, both personally and in our practices.

Register for Earth Day webinar.

Further information

If you have any questions or suggestions relating to any educational or wellbeing events, or any other questions regarding the Faculty, please email our Faculty Administrator

Your Faculty Board

Faculty Officers

Paul Alford

Dr Paul Alford, Chair

Professor Simon De Lusignan, RCCP South West Thames Faculty Chair

Professor Simon de Lusignan, Provost

  • Dr James Thambyrajah, Vice Chair
  • Dr Leslie Campbell, Honorary Secretary
  • Dr Muneeb Choudhry, Honorary Treasurer
  • Dr Jaspreet Dhillon, Council Rep
  • Dr Sam Samaratunga Co-Education Lead & LCARM Lead
  • Dr Raisha Nurani Co-Education Lead & First5 Lead

Faculty Board members

  • Dr Hannah Field - AiT Representative
  • Dr Sarah Carrod 
  • Dr Charles Elliott 
  • Professor Paul Grob
  • Dr Chris Hughes
  • Dr Jonathan Inglesfield
  • Dr John Nichols
  • Dr Sophie Rowlands - International Rep
  • Mrs Stephanie Shepherd - Lay Member

Faculty News

Activities of our board members:

Dr John Nichols

There are two medical opinions on Nutritional Medicine and the use of nutrition supplements that go back to my student days that are both wrong:

  1. You don't need to take vitamin and mineral tablets if you eat a well balanced diet.
  2. You can take vitamin and mineral tablets if you really want to. They may not do you any good but they can't do you any harm. The truth of the matter is rather complicated. For instance, taking folic acid vitamin tablets is officially recommended when trying to get pregnant. To find out why both statements are wrong, you might want to check out the book by John Nichols (Provost of SW Thames Faculty 2014-17).

An Introduction to Nutritional Medicine - where Darwin meets Hippocrates

This book imagines a meeting between Charles Darwin and Hippocrates - the ancient Greek father of Medicine. My supposition is that any dialogue between these two great thinkers should be quite sensational.  It presents a short dialogue between the two at the start of each chapter to act as an introduction to the topic discussed. With the help of Darwin and Hippocrates, the book covers some of the main areas of the large topic of Nutritional Medicine and especially some of the more controversial issues such as the use of nutritional supplements, the efficacy of probiotics and when to categorise a food as 'junk food'. Any lay reader who wants to know what constitutes Nutritional Medicine (as opposed to Homeopathy and Herbalism) should find this book a useful introduction to the subject. For those who want to read up the subject in greater detail, the appendix includes a comprehensive reading list

Dr James Thambyrajah

Dr Thambyrajah (First5 Lead of SW Thames Faculty 2017-19) has written an article on Skin lesions for Guidelines In Practice, view James' work on 'Skin lesions: what’s the diagnosis?'

Faculty Initiatives

Current Research

Commit To Change is a pilot project run by Surrey University and NHS Kingston CCG. Its aim is to help people achieve health goals by making online 'commitment contracts'. Participants either take part for free or give money to a charity of their choice if they fail to carry out their commitments.

The John Lasserson Award

Dr John Lasserson MRCGP was the Honorary Treasurer of our faculty for many years. He was a GP in an outer suburb of London and also worked as a GP trainer for 25 years. He took great pride in practising clinical care to the highest standard, and encouraging others to do the same. We are pleased to have, together with his family, established an award in his name.

The John Lasserson Award is presented annually to the highest scoring trainee of the GP examinations from the South West Thames Faculty. The award consists of £300, and a framed certificate.

Faculty Audit and Research Grant

We are awarding small grants of up to £200 to GPs and practice nurses to help with the cost of practice audits and small-scale research projects. This scheme is designed to cut through bureaucracy and paperwork and make small awards available to grass roots GPs and practice nurses.

South East Thames and South West Thames and Brighton and Sussex Medical School Student Prize

For Brighton and Sussex Medical School students only, the RCGP South East Thames and South West Thames Faculties are sponsoring a competition whereby the BSMS tutors invite their top twenty students to submit a reflection, on one side of A4, giving their thoughts on general practice. The tutors shortlist the entries and then invite the two faculties to agree the awards. The faculties will then publish the winning entries in their e-bulletin to members. First prize is a cheque for £200, second prize £100 and third prize £50.

Contact us

RCGP South West Thames Faculty
30 Euston Square

T: 020 3188 7453

Opening hours

Office opening hours: 09:30 to 16:30, Monday to Friday

Your local Faculty and Events Administrator is Katie Biring.

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