GP heroes of the year
A selection of those going above and beyond in 2018
Day 1: Dr Anouska Hari and colleagues
Dr Anouska Hari
After the fire at Grenfell Tower in west London, a number of GPs stepped in to care for those affected. Dr Hari and others showed true GP spirit by staffing makeshift treatment centres, handling anxiety attacks and dealing with requests for prescriptions – all as the tower threatened to collapse. If only Theresa May had followed their example.
Day 2: Dr Jeeves Wijesuriya
Jeeves Wijesuriya BMA Junior Doctors Committee
The GP trainee who now chairs the BMA’s junior doctors committee was off duty and talking to the BBC in Westminster when he heard screams following the terrorist attack in March. He responded immediately and was the first doctor on the scene, treating two victims. Dr Wijesuriya took no credit, but instead praised the emergency services.
Day 3: Roy Leary
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After a two-year struggle to find a doctor to take over his singlehanded practice so he could retire, Dr Leary finally hung up his stethoscope only to be back at his desk the next day as a locum. He didn’t want to return, but had no choice as no GP could be found for the Fermanagh practice and Dr Leary said he was determined to ‘do his best by patients’. Beyond the call of duty.
Day 4: Dr Stephen Pike
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It’s not often the little guy beats big pharma. But Dr Stephen Pike is the GP whose complaint in 2012 culminated in Pfizer being ordered to pay a record £84.2m fine, and Flynn Pharma £5.2m, for charging the NHS excessive and unfair prices for phenytoin sodium capsules.
Day 5: Dr Preeti Shukla
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Dr Preeti Shukla ‘Indemnity fee hikes are killing my profession.’ This is how the Lancashire GP kicked off a heartfelt letter to health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in September’s issue of Pulse, highlighting the injustice of the indemnity crisis facing the profession. And more than 300 GPs co-signed her letter that Pulse delivered to the Department of Health a few weeks before the Mr Hunt announced a ‘state-backed’ scheme for the profession.
Day 6: Dr Kate Pickering
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This GP has shown that the particular challenges of rural general practice can be overcome, even in the most remote areas. With a hard-headed and practical approach, Dr Pickering has done nothing short of revolutionise care on the Inner Hebridean islands of Islay and Jura, bring it back ‘from the brink’ and providing a blueprint for similar areas. Dr Pickering was nominated by her colleagues for Pulse’s local hero list this year and she topped the list.
Day 7: Karen Brown
Dr Karen Brown pic - square crop
Dr Karen Brown won the prize at a glittering ceremony in central London and was praised for ‘dramatically improving’ standards at her practice and patient care. She won the award for completely turning around a struggling practice under very challenging circumstances.
Day 8: Dr Ruth Bromley
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Busy GPs may not have time to booty shake at their local nightclub, but at least they can now join a ‘virtual disco’ spinning discs on social media. Manchester GP Dr Bromley and her team started #TwitterDisco to ‘care for those that care. Coming together once a month to share music that lifts us’ and collect money for charity.
Day 9: Dr Stephanie deGiorgio
Dr Stephanie De Giorgio
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt may have hoped for a warm ovation after announcing a new GP indemnity scheme at the RCGP’s conference. Dream on. Kent GP Dr deGiorgio stood up and rounded on Mr Hunt: ‘Three years ago I talked to you about how we were exhausted and drowning. It has gotten worse so why should GPs believe what you’re saying today?’
Day 10: Professor Aneez Esmail
dr aneez esmail
Professor Esmail was given a lifetime achievement award at last month’s General Practice Awards, and with good reason. The Manchester GP has resolutely highlighted inequality and racial discrimination in general practice and the wider NHS for more than 20 years. He has gone into battle against bias by the GMC, medical schools and the GP entrance exam, and is a true warrior for fairness.
Day 11: Hawkshead GPs
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The Hawkshead practice in Cumbria has led a brave fight against MPIG cuts. And local patients have joined in, donating £30,000 to equip a new health centre to help the village practice survive. GP partners Dr Jane Rimmington and Dr Kaye Ward told Pulse what the community had achieved was ‘incredible’, and was in contrast to a complete lack of support from NHS managers.
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Day 12: Dr Kathryn Illsley and Dr Tim Sowton
News of a strike at the nearby nuclear site Sellafield convinced Dr Kathryn Illsley and Dr Tim Sowton, daily commuters, to sleep at The Seascale Health Centre in Cumbria.‘When there is a strike, a normal 40-minutes commute could take up to three hours,’ said practice manager Lisa Drake. For this reason, the two GPs deliberately decided to stay in the surgery to avoid running late the morning after, said Ms Drake. Respect.
We will be featuring 12 GPs who have gone above and beyond this year every day before we break for Christmas - if you have any other suggestions of GPs doing a fantastic job that we should know about then please leave them in the comments below or tweet using the #GPHero17 or #GPHeroes17 hashtags.