Dr Jonathon Tomlinson may still be a relative unknown for much of the profession, but for any GP who has dipped their toe into the world of social networking, his ‘mellojonny’ moniker will be very familiar.
After RCGP chair Dr Clare Gerada, Dr Tomlinson is one of the most prominent – and prolific – GPs on Twitter, with more than 3,000 followers and counting, and he has used that platform and his A better NHS blog to campaign vigorously against the Government’s NHS reforms and health-service cuts.
Described by our panel as ‘kind and thoughtful’ and someone who ‘writes well and makes me feel good about general practice’, he is a partner at a practice in Hackney, east London, and also a GP trainer.
Dr Tomlinson began blogging in 2009, but it is only recently that his name has gained wider recognition among his peers – now, it’s not uncommon to find him in the pub with leading health policy brains such as King’s Fund chief economist John Appleby and editor of Health Policy Insight Andy Cowper.
He was one of the GPs who publicly criticised the BMA’s plans for industrial action over pensions, and also wrote movingly about his experience in the centre of the riots in London last summer for Pulse.
While only a small proportion of the profession are actively engaged in social networking, he is a persuasive evangelist for the way Twitter has created a stronger sense of community among GPs.
He says: ‘In terms of the conversations you can have with interesting people, it’s incredibly powerful – I have a global network in front of me, many of whom I’m having conversations with now, and it has really inspired me.
‘I have been invited to the health select committee, to the House of Lords, and I’ve done a few TV interviews too. I don’t have any political ambitions, but if you want to talk about your profession you can’t help but stand up and be a representative.’