A portfolio week as a Salaried GP, Macmillan GP and Chair of GGPET (Gloucestershire GP Education Trust) encourages me to explore a variety of roles and leadership positions. It is important to be grounded in general practice and appreciate first -hand the challenges as well as the privileges of our role as advocates for our patients.
I qualified from UMDS in 1996, entering a General Medical rotation and passed the MRCP (London 2001). The benefit in being able to do a series of SHO posts before committing to my specialty, confirmed that General Practice was what I might enjoy. However, back then, oncology was my main interest, largely due to the ability to get to know patients over a period, and I joined the Specialist Registrar rotation in Clinical Oncology.
For personal reasons I moved to Gloucestershire where I now live with my family. I joined the local VTS scheme and qualified as a GP in 2010. My oncology interest remained however and, having volunteered to work on a practice Cancer Action Planning project with the then 3CCN (Three Counties Cancer Network), I met several Macmillan GPs at a national event for Cancer Networks and wondered why we didn’t have any in Gloucestershire. I discovered that ongoing funding had been a concern of the Primary Care Trusts. Seeing the opportunity with the emergence of Clinically Led Commissioning Groups (ICBs) and with the support of the then Clinical Lead for Cancer, Dr Charles Buckley, who put together a Case of Need for a Macmillan GP in Gloucestershire I was delighted to be appointed in 2013.
My work programme is varied and based around collaboration across the health and social care system, wider system leadership, service improvement and re-design based on best practice ideas, primary care development and education. I have maintained some national roles such as the Advisory Committee for the NHS Breast Screening Programme, been a member of 2 NICE guideline committee updates (Breast and Prostate Cancer) as well as regionally working with the SWAG (Somerset, Wiltshire, Avon & Gloucestershire) Cancer Alliance as Clinical Lead for Prevention and Early Diagnosis, part-funded by CRUK.
There are inevitably challenges in having a portfolio week in terms of being able to maintain work boundaries across the week, ensuring timely email responses for example. Overall, I feel I am better equipped to tackle the challenges of General Practice because of the variety in my working week.
I am looking forward to continuing my leadership development this year with The King’s Fund ‘Collaborative Leadership’ programme. My role as clinical lead is key in managing relationships and joining up with our patients, providers and third sector partners in aiming to deliver the best cancer outcomes for our Gloucestershire population.