I have been a GP for 17 years and it took me a while to settle down. I spent 6 years of my early career working in rural Australia as a GP which I really enjoyed particularly as I had a young family and my wife worked with me as a fellow GP. This is where I developed my interest in quality improvement and patient safety which has supported my career development in many ways but particularly helping to keep me fresh and enthusiastic in the face of much change. It took me some time to realise that the technical challenges of being a GP were only a small part of sustainability and that the people side of things was much more important – this is even more true in my role as Deputy Chair of the ICB. Often there is no right or wrong way and building a consensus of how best to go forward is a skill I am continually learning from others. I have spent a considerable amount of time and energy developing myself through leadership development opportunities including coaching and have become a coach as a result. Looking in the mirror is not always easy or comfortable as I am not a naturally reflective person but developing this side of ‘me’ has proved invaluable. Fortunately, or unfortunately it is a journey with no end, and it is all about learning and improving!!!
I currently work 3 sessions as a salaried GP and 6 sessions in my other roles however I am keen to become a partner again in due course.
Of course, every role comes with its own challenges and for me keeping people sighted on the goal, which is often only achievable if we all work together, success being dependent on everyone’s contribution rather than on an individual’s, can be hard work.