A brand-new face in the Power 50, the forthright Dr Stephanie de Giorgio has had a meteoric rise ever since she stood up and told the health secretary at the RCGP conference: ‘We are exhausted, drowning, and quite frankly furious with you. What are you going to do about it?’
And Dr de Giorgio has continued to represent the jobbing GP, with colleagues citing her as a ‘voice of reason’ and ‘not afraid to say what everyone is thinking’ in their nominations.
But this Kent GP is a woman of action as well as words, co-founding the ‘Resilient GP’ organisation, which provides support to GPs though an online forum and courses that demonstrate how practices can say ‘no’ to unfunded work and protect themselves from burnout.
And the organisation has grown in prominence over the past year, with some saying that it is doing a better job than the BMA and the RCGP at supporting those at the coalface.
But it has not operated without controversy. A recent list of 200 examples of ‘inappropriate demands’ from patients published by Resilient GP gave rise to accusations the group was ‘blaming’ patients. However, the list did raise national debate on the issue, and gave Resilient GP the dubious honour of probably being the first GP group to inspire a BuzzFeed article (it was called ‘40 Awkward Things Patients Have Actually Said To Doctors’).
Dr de Giorgio has also been involved in setting up the Perinatal Mental Health Partnership, which aims to break the stigma around the topic – a cause she says is ‘close to her heart’. It was also part of an RCGP working group that recently published new guidance for GPs on looking after women who may have perinatal mental health issues.
She says that this year has been the busiest of her career so far, but she will continue to rail against the general practice ethos of ‘put up, shut up and just work harder for your patients’.
She says: ‘Putting one’s head above the parapet is scary. A few people have been fairly critical, but if it empowers others to speak up and try to re-kindle professional pride and stand against the health secretary and those who simply do not understand the good system that they are decimating, it is very worth it.’