As one of the top GPs at NHS England, Dr David Geddes has often been the face of some very unpopular decisions over the past year, such as the withdrawal of trade waste funding and the decision to force practices to open over Christmas.
But our panel credited him with a ‘major role in finding solutions to the greatest challenge facing general practice in a generation’.
He balances his role as medical director for primary care within NHS England with practising part-time as a GP in York, but admits to ‘huge frustrations’ with management structures. Progress has been made, he says, but ‘the single operating model for NHS England has often made it difficult to respond to crisis and challenges in a timely way’.
The issues over paying practices properly has cast a shadow over his year, with him promising Pulse – perhaps unwisely – last year that all the problems of late or missing payments would be resolved by April.
Yet, he is hopeful that despite the problems, a way forward has emerged for the profession. He says the ‘engagement we got through the general practice “Call to Action” has really helped to identify the priorities for the profession’.
After travelling around the country Dr Geddes says he has learnt a lot about innovative ideas that are being used around the country. He says: ‘I have only ever practised as a GP in York, so it has been a really eye opening experience, seeing how fellow GPs cope with the daily challenge of the role.’
Before taking on this high-profile job, he led primary care commissioning at North Yorkshire and York PCT. But in another life, he may have been ‘doing something with an aromatic foam on Masterchef’.
He says that he was most influenced by his father who was a GP in rural Dorset retiring 10 years ago. He says: ‘He embodied the principles of the traditional family doctor and his career was very much his vocation. Although general practice is a tough career choice, I don’t think there can be many things much more satisfying.’