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Pulse awards pioneer of extended primary care ‘GP of the Year’ prize

A GP who has radically expanded the remit of general practice in his area has been named ‘GP of the Year’ at an awards ceremony in London.

Dr Jonathan Grant Cope was granted the award at the General Practice Awards last night – run by the publishers of Pulse, Cogora – for his work on the ‘primary care home rapid test site’ at the Beacon Medical Group in Exeter. 

Dr Cope was instrumental in launching GP-led dermatology and MSK clinics, reducing the need for referrals to secondary care by between 70% and 80%.

He also launched a series of interventions including telephone outreach for vulnerable COPD patients and in-hours visiting service for GPs and clinical pharmacists, further reducing avoidable admissions to hospital.

The ‘primary care home’ model is led by the National Association of Primary Care and, like NHS England’s vanguards, they are trialling the multispecialty community provider model.

Dr Cope thanked the ‘fantastic team of managers, clinicians and allied health professionals’ at his practice that ‘pulled together in the same direction over the last two and half years to make wonderful things happen’.

He added that it was ‘important to recognise all the hard work everyone’s done in the practice’.

‘We’ve got a fantastic new management team. A lot of them are new to the NHS and they’ve done some really cool stuff – it’s just a really exciting place to be,’ he said.

Dr Ruth Heseltine, a post-graduate student in primary care at The University of Manchester, won ‘GP Trainee of the Year’. 

Dr Heseltine has worked for Museum Practice in London, where she introduced a reminder system for cervical smear screening, resulting in a 200% increase in monthly smear uptake since its inception.

Dr Heseltine, who said she ‘never expected to win’, felt it was bredth of her work that made her stand out.

She added: ‘All trainees hear is how negative everything is and I do feel really positive about general practice and everything you can do within it, particularly all the space there is for innovation and that actually it really embraces people who want to make things better, whereas in hospital I felt really stifled, like a rat on a treadmill.’

Other winners included NHS Sandwell & West Birmingham CCG for general practice team of the year, Judith Taylor for Commissioner of the year, Karin Bruce for Practice Manager of the year, Deborah Allcock for Nurse of the year and Fens and Brecks Care Home Matron Service for nursing team of the year.