Dr Naureen Bhatti has had a rollercoaster year, but she has remained steadfast. She was part of the powerful Stop Practice Closures campaign in Tower Hamlets, which won additional support for some practices hit by the withdrawal of MPIG, but her practice just missed out.
But instead of taking this on the chin, Dr Bhatti invited the health secretary to her practice to see the reality of what she offered patients, and he accepted. However, (as Pulse revealed) it turned out the practice was likely to close before he could find time to get there.
But the Department of Health scrambled together a mission from health minister Alistair Burt, who visited last July. Soon after, the CCG came up with new funding to rescue the practice.
As Dr Bhatti says: ‘This has probably been one of the hardest years of my working life. It has been a time of great change and we have gone from 10 partners to six, due in part to retirement and illness, but also due to financial strain.’
But with additional funding secured, Dr Bhatti can look to the future. She will sit on the national committee to review the GP retainer scheme: ‘As a female GP who herself was on the retainer scheme, I am passionate about women in medicine and excited to have the chance to influence GP retention.’