The editorship of Pulse is passed on unceremoniously. There is no silver chain or seal of office, no induction procedure. The old editor clears his/her desk and a new one starts work the next day.
But something more important than the title passes to the new incumbent. Pulse has a proud heritage of nearly 60 years of supporting, informing and defending general practice, and a loyal audience built up through decades of being there through thick and thin.
But none of this can be taken for granted. Running a magazine these days is a precarious business; many a good publication has gone to the wall and the pace of change is faster than ever. You always have to bear in mind that today’s cover story will rapidly become tomorrow’s cat litter tray lining. Every editor has a responsibility to ensure their publication remains relevant to those they are writing for.
As I prepare to move to pastures new, I hope that is what I have done. Shone a light on what it is to be a GP in the modern NHS and chronicled the joy and the pain of a proud profession that has been at the front line of a brutal period of austerity. Investigated sensitive issues, such as physician burnout, practice closures and the shortage of GPs, and highlighted what they mean for the profession, patients and the wider NHS. Written editorials and punctured myths about ‘fat cat’ GPs in the national media.Commissioned and edited articles to inform and entertain GPs about the changing policy and clinical environment. Given a platform to those who have something important to say.
Our readers support is invaluable – you push us to be better journalists
My particular highlights include last month’s Pulse front cover, with its collage of GPs’ faces in the image of Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba, a whole issue edited by GP trainees, receiving a summons to provide advice to NHS chief executive Simon Stevens before the publication of the GP Forward View (perhaps wisely – he didn’t take it) and the time I hurriedly managed to borrow a tie and hide my trainers under the desk for a last-minute live BBC News interview. A low-light? Messaging Peverley for his (extremely) overdue column and getting back a picture of him in a hospital bed. Thanks, Phil.
It hasn’t always been easy and no doubt I’ve got some things wrong – journalism is an imperfect art at the best of times – but I have always felt enormously privileged to do this job. Pulse would be nothing without its readership of knowledgeable, sceptical, outspoken GPs. You push us to be better journalists and your support through the years – whether you have commented on an article, taken part in a survey, written for us or spoken to one of our team – has been invaluable.
Particular thanks go to all those GPs who have either allowed me to pick their brains and/or given me encouragement over the years; to Dr Shaba Nabi, Dr Zoe Norris, Dr Tony Copperfield and the other GPs who regularly write for us and bravely put their heads above the parapet, and most of all to my fantastic team here at Pulse. They work very hard and do a brilliant job.
The next issue will have a new portrait on this page and perhaps a new direction. But I am sure you’ll give the new editor as much support as you have shown me, and that Pulse will go onwards and upwards as a result. I will be watching with interest.
Nigel Praities is editor of Pulse. Follow him on Twitter @nigelpraities