I tend to get woken up around 5.30am by my early-rising four-year-old son. The next hour and a half is spent having coffee with my wife, and trying to convince my son that eating breakfast will help him become Superman one day.
I set off to drive through the steel city and cross the M1 to get to work in Swinton, a semi-rural practice, by 8am.
Surgery starts and, for the next two and a half hours, I keep my phone off. I see 14 patients in 10-minute slots. As I’m a trainee, one of the perks is a 10-minute breather in the middle.
At the end of surgery, I visit one or two patients in their homes.
I use my lunchtime to catch up with emails, paperwork, referrals and reports.
No two afternoons are the same during my week. On Tuesdays I go to the local hospital or the PCT to learn clinical and consultation skills, and run Balint sessions to help trainees to analyse difficult consultations.
Most Wednesdays and Thursdays I travel to London to attend meetings at BMA House, the RCGP or the GMC, or other external meetings where I represent GP trainees. I probably speak to BMA senior executive officer Christopher Scott the most after my wife – I’m not sure how pleased she is about that.
The past couple of years have been very busy, with many issues concerning GP training. CSA exams have been a huge issue. I hope it’s not seen as something that discourages those thinking of coming into GP training.
The greatest challenge for me is to make sure that the quality of GP training is preserved. It is important to make sure that people who want to make decisions about GP training understand the wider implications. I would also like to see less GP bashing in the media, so we can encourage more people to join the profession.
My advice for someone who wants to get involved with medical politics is to be organised, and see your work through. You need to be motivated – don’t get involved just to fill your CV. It has helped me to have a supportive dean.
On other days, I attend meetings at the local deanery. We usually discuss local recruitment into general practice, what we plan to do about it and how we compare to other deaneries. The thing that causes the most debate is when
a practice applies for a new trainee, because it’s hard to decide who’s fit to provide training.
I also spend quite a bit of time every week responding to trainees’ concerns by email, or preparing for meetings.
Usually, I head straight home after work, but once or twice a week I play cricket or football with friends. Until a year ago, I used to provide medical assistance at boxing events and triathlons in the North West. I was also a qualified rugby coach. It was fun while it lasted, but I’d never have a life if I’d carried on with all those commitments.
My wife, who is also a GP trainee, understands my interest in medical politics. I wouldn’t be able to balance everything without her. It works out quite well at the moment, but we have a second baby coming soon so we’ll have to see how that changes things.
I have dinner with the family, then hit the books for exam revision and to update my e-portfolio until midnight.
Bedtime. Six hours of sleep a night is a luxury.
Role Chair of the GPC’s GP trainees subcommittee
Place of work A semi-rural Sheffield practice
Hours worked per week 50–60
Best thing about your job A GP is the first and the last port of call for most patients, and it is very satisfying to be their advocate