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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Dr Pete Cawston

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dr cawston local heroes 2016 3x2

Glasgow GP Dr Cawston ‘goes the extra marathon for his patients, staff, colleagues and does it with ease so you would hardly notice’, according to his GP colleagues. 

This extra marathon involves being clinical lead for the National Links Worker Programme, a project funded by the Scottish Government, to research and address the social factors that lead to poor health, to help patients and reduce the pressure on GPs in deprived areas. A links worker from the programme liaises with each GP practice to help patients  and support them to access community projects, and become more independent.

The project started off in seven GP practices, but is now being rolled out nationally, and Dr Cawston hopes his influence will help ‘ensure that it remains person-centred, based in primary care and shaped around the needs of the patients not policymakers’.

The GP, who practices in the Drumchapel district, is also a member of Deep End GPs (a group of GPs in deprived areas in Scotland) and through this has helped to highlight the inverse care law – that practices with the most deprived populations receive the least funding. ‘This mismatch is one of the reasons why the patients who live in the area where I work and other areas like it, experience complicated illnesses and die at a younger age than people who live in better-off areas,’ he says.

Despite the difficulties of working with a deprived patient population, Dr Cawston says the most enjoyable part of general practice is having consultations: ‘Despite the time pressures and anxiety, listening to patients is an immense privilege and a constant source of drama, joy, humanity and humour,’ he says.

What others say about him ‘He is a bit like a professional horse rider – they sit there and jump huge fences yet you hardly know they are moving – no fuss.’

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