Dr Barry Lewis’s influential role as one of the central architects of the successful bid to extend GP training sees him join our list as a new entrant.
He was a GP in Rochdale, Lancashire, for 33 years before retiring from clinical practice this year. But as director of North Western Deanery and chair of the Committee of GP Education Directors (COGPED), he has his hands full working with the RCGP on the practicalities of how to implement four-year GP training.
COGPED’s plan for fourth-year registrars to be drafted in to plug service gaps and fill out-of-hours rotas have proved controversial, prompting the GPC to say it would create a ‘sub-grade’ of GP.
But Dr Lewis insists the benefits of extended training will be ‘enormous’.
He says: ‘I expect to see more confident young GPs able to provide high-quality care and manage and lead the system from the start of independent practice.’
But there are some hoops to jump through before then, not least in gaining approval for the plans from Medical Education England and the devolved nations. There are also changes to contend with arising from the Government’s plans to abolish deaneries.
Dr Lewis is a man who enjoys his job and delights in the part he plays in training doctors for what he calls the ‘hardest job in medicine’.
He says: ‘My highlight this year, as always, is watching trainees mature into qualified GPs.’
His advice to new trainees is simple – don’t become a locum: ‘The best bits of general practice lie in the long-term relationships and being people’s first port of call for the mixture of physical, psychological and social care they need.’