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It’s not often that an academic can make the leader of the country commit to changing GP contract negotiations, but Professor Watt has managed it.
This year, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told Parliament her Government would address the ‘Inverse Care Law’ – whereby vulnerable patients who need the most care receive the least – via the new Scottish GP contract in 2017. She acknowledged the vigorous campaigning on deprivation by the Glasgow GP and professor of general practice at the University of Glasgow.
Much of this is channelled through the Deep End project, involving the 100 most deprived practices in Scotland. Professor Watt has published numerous research papers revealing how deprivation affects health outcomes, and how deprived practices don’t receive the funds they need. This year a notable paper showed longer GP appointments were ‘highly cost-effective’.
Crucially, he has not left this research in academia. He used it to lobby policymakers for a fairer share of funding – culminating in the reassurance from Ms Sturgeon.
Practices in the deprived areas where he campaigns are appreciative of his work, if his numerous nominators are anything to go by, with every one referencing his work on the Deep End project.As one put it: ‘He has transformed our view of deprivation in general practice and general practice more generally too, what makes a difference to our patients and populations in the real world, and how GPs contribute to that.’
Other strings to his bow include being an elected fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, and the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the academic representative on the Scottish RCGP Council, and chair of Programme Advisory Panel, Medical Aid for Palestinians.
Why influential: Effective campaigner for patients and a voice for vulnerable practices
Surprising fact: Season ticket holder for Partick Thistle FC