The deputy medical director of NHS England was nominated for being a ‘calm voice of reason in troubled times’ and for not being afraid to ‘speak up about what is important’. And it is these qualities that mark him out at NHS England.
Perhaps it was the 20-year stint as a GP in Cumbria that instilled a certain northern frankness, which was in evidence last year when he defended NHS England over the cuts to PMS and MPIG, and said the GP partnership model ‘probably will be gone’ within 10 years.
‘The current organisational structure of primary care is no longer sustainable or, increasingly, desirable,’ Dr Bewick told an audience in London. ‘We won’t talk about primary care, we will talk about out-of-hospital provision and out-of-hospital providers.’
Dr Bewick was involved this year in drawing up the 10-point plan to improve the recruitment and retention of GPs and ensuring the second year of revalidation is kept on schedule. He is currently on secondment at the Trust Development Authority in order to help support hospital trusts, many of which are struggling financially.
But his favourite moment from the past year was the launch of the futuristic ‘lab in the bag’ project at NHS England.
‘The potential of point-of-care testing on the system could be profound,’ he explains.