The primary care community is mourning an ‘instrumental’ GP who has died at the age of 40.
Dr Kirsty Gillgrass died suddenly on 16 November. She was the clinical director of NHS Sheffield CCG, a GP partner and trainer in the city, and RCCP fellow.
Dr Gillgrass is survived by her husband Jon, two young sons, and other family members.
Leading the tributes, Sheffield CCG colleague and medical director Dr Zak McMurray said: ‘It has been a great privilege to work with Kirsty at the CCG for the last few years. She was passionate about general practice and putting our patients at the heart of the care we deliver.
‘Her contribution during the Covid pandemic was enormous. Kirsty will be hugely missed as both a colleague and friend. All of our thoughts are with Jon and Kirsty’s family at such a difficult time.’
Dr Gillgrass graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2004 and went onto hold various medical and leadership positions in the city, including as an academic teaching fellow at the University’s Unit of Primary Care.
Since 2019, her focus at the CCG had been on elective care and cancer, but shifted this year to lead the area’s response to Covid-19 – a role for which she won vast amounts of praise.
Dr Gillgrass was also a trainer as part of the GP Training Scheme, having additionally served as a clinical supervisor and educational supervisor, overseeing trainees both day-to-day and over their three-year programmes. She is now set to be posthumously awarded with an Executive Masters in Medical Leadership from The Business School.
Jenna Fielding, of Sheffield Women in Medicine (SWiM), of which Dr Gillgrass sat on the committee, said: ‘Kirsty was the absolute epitome of what SWiM stands for – her determination, grit and drive helped build the community to what it is today.
‘Kirsty has been instrumental in the development of an NHS charter for gender equality, her skills as a mentor on our scheme have been invaluable and her passion for nurturing medical students was clear as she was always first to volunteer to supervise their projects to further our understanding of problems faced by women in medical school.’
Donors have currently raised more than £7,000 for the Doctors’ Support Network in Dr Gillgrass’ memory. Her tribute page reads: ‘The pressures of working as a GP are significant, especially at this time.
‘The current Covid pandemic has placed incredible stress on the NHS and Kirsty was always first to support her colleagues in their time of need. Unfortunately, this meant that too often she neglected her own mental health.
‘Kirsty battled her own mental health issues throughout her student and working life. She left us too early, but I know she would support the choice of Doctors’ Support Network as a charity to benefit from her legacy and as a way to remember her.
‘Your donation will make a difference to those doctors struggling at this difficult time. On behalf of both Doctors’ Support Network and Kirsty I thank you for your kind gift.’
Further messages in memorial read: ‘Kirsty influenced so many people during her life. As mum to Joshua and Oliver, she has shaped the start of their lives, no doubt to great things. She was incredibly proud of the amazing young men they are becoming.
‘As a friend, she was always there for people. Professionally, she cared deeply for her patients – always going far above what was expected to ensure that they received the very best care. She undertook so many more roles both in the NHS and outside, particularly to help develop and train the next generation of GPs.’
Dr Gillgrass’ practice, Crystal Peaks Medical Centre, added in a statement: ‘It is with tremendous sadness that we have to announce the death of one of our GP partners, Dr Gillgrass. Kirsty was a remarkably intelligent, industrious and caring individual and colleague who will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with her family and friends, and we would request our patients’ understanding at this is difficult time for all staff at Crystal Peaks Medical Centre.’
Dr Gillgrass’ funeral took place on 9 December, with mourners encouraged to wear her favourite colour, pink.
Anyone wishing to add a message of condolence can send one to firstname.lastname@example.org, from which her practice colleagues will collate messages into a book to be passed onto her family.