Grass Roots People

People

Martin Brunet

Martin Brunet
GP and GP trainer, Binscombe Medical Centre
Programme Director Guildford GP Vocational Training Scheme

My passion for patient-centred care and the art of meaningful communication led me to start a health blog on my practice website in April 2011. I enjoy the creative challenge that comes with writing, and relish the fact that modern technology can give a voice to anyone who has the energy to speak out. I can be found on Twitter at: @DocMartin68

John Bye

John Bye
GP locum in the vicinity of Teesside

I believe that the health impact of any policy, project or plan can only be improved by listening to the fellows who cut the hay. Ignoring or deriding the worm’s eye view because it can see obstacles and pitfalls that you can’t seems foolhardy to me.  I hope that Grassroots GP makes the worm’s eye view just a little more difficult to ignore.  I tweet at @drjohnbye

John Cosgrove

John Cosgrove
GP and GP trainer, Midlands Medical Partnership, High Street Surgery, Birmingham

I love being a GP, working to improve the health both of my individual patients and of my practice list as a whole.  I see the pressure to overdiagnose and overtreat in General Practice as greater than ever, and hope GPs and their patients will continue to work together to make wise choices.  Follow me on twitter: @DrJohnCosgrove.

Pete Deveson

Pete Deveson
GP, Derby Medical Centre, Epsom

I’m a GP in Surrey.  For me, the great thing about British General Practice is developing a longitudinal relationship with my patients, and working together to try and alleviate their distress.  I’m worried about the many societal, political and contractual pressures that threaten to jeopardise this.  You can frequently find me complaining about this on Twitter as @PeteDeveson.

Iona Heath

Iona Heath
Former RCGP President. Writer. Retired GP

In 1956, the writer George Ewart Evans published his masterpiece of oral history which he called ‘Ask the Fellows who Cut the Hay’.  It would be more than timely if those in power in this country could be persuaded to reflect on this title.  There is a pervasive and disturbing lack of knowledge of the daily experience working at the frontline of public service let alone any valuing of or respect for that experience.  This applies to teachers, social workers, civil servants, police, nurses, doctors and many more.  It is undoubtedly true for those working in general practice and primary care which is particularly sad as we see, every day, the effects of structural violence and social injustice working themselves out in premature illness and disease and in blighted and shortened lives.  This initiative can be seen as an attempt to redress this balance with a commitment to ask the fellows who cut the hay of general practice.

Margaret McCartney

Margaret McCartney
GP, Fulton Street Medical Centre, Glasgow

I am a GP and tutor at the University of Glasgow, and the author of The Patient Paradox, why sexed up medicine is bad for your health.  I  broadcast regularly for Radio 4′s Inside Health and write for the mainstream UK press and the British Medical Journal.  I blog at www.margaretmccartney.com/blog and tweets at @mgtmccartneymargaret@margaretmccartney.com

What are GPs doing?  And who is it for?  Over the last decade I’ve become  frustrated by the tick boxes which politicians set for GPs to complete for our patients; and the fragmentation of the  NHS as our politicians have allowed it to be chipped away at by private companies.  I’ve been dismayed at the advertising for ‘health’ products people simply don’t need, and the overselling of many medical interventions.  We make it hard for sick people to get decent care, while pushing screening tests at the well.  Why do we allow this?  The  fabric of general practice – where long term relationships allow values to be understood and nurtured – is being pulled away by people who simply don’t understand what goes on here and why.  I  hope this website helps to explain what it is that we do, and why.

Jonathan Sleath, Kingstone Surgery, Herefordshire

Jonathan Sleath
GP, Kingstone Surgery, Herefordshire

I am a GP in a small rural practice in Herefordshire. I believe that the relationship between doctor and patient is human and personal, and is based on a strong ethical tradition. It is our duty and privilege to use our skills, experience and power to work with our patients to protect them from the dangers of overmedicalisation, overdiagnosis and disease-mongering. You won’t find me on Twitter.

Stuart Sutton

Stuart Sutton
A newly qualified GP at Tollgate Medical Centre in Newham, East London

As a trainee GP moving between surgeries I often heard patients ask: ‘will you be my doctor now?’.  This illustrated what I believe people value most about General Practice: the opportunity to develop a long term therapeutic relationship with their doctor – a doctor who knows and cares about them, their family and their community.  Many trainee GPs now struggle to find a traditional partnership, the cornerstone of this type of personal care in General Practice, instead only being able to work as a locum or take up often shorter-term salaried jobs.  Whilst this type of working suits many doctors it doesn’t replace the traditional investment GPs make personally, professionally and financially when committing to a partnership and a community.  I am fortunate to have found such a practice and intend to work with the same community for the next 30-plus years.  I fear if we do not, as a profession, encourage and enable more young GPs to become partners more and more of our patients will be left asking for a doctor they can call their own.

Jonathon Tomlinson

Jonathon Tomlinson
GP, The Lawson Practice, Hackney

Those of us who spend our working lives in primary care bear witness to the suffering and personal tragedy of ordinary people.  Suffering these days is caused less by infectious diseases than by the steady disintegration of arthritic joints and fading memories, employment opportunities and social safety nets.

Medicine as it is practiced at the grass roots involves a shared struggle, or what GP Julian Tudor-Hart described as the ‘co-production of health gain’ in which doctors and patients act not as salesmen of medicine and consumers of care, but as expert partners working together.
Our intimate knowledge and our shared struggle define us as grassroots.  We are as Rudolf Virchow described in 1854, ‘the natural attorneys of the poor’  – but as advocates too often silent.  I hope that this endeavour will give us greater pride in and appreciation of the work we do and the strength and solidarity to stand up and speak out.

Jonathon blogs at abetternhs.wordpress.com and tweets at @mellojonny.

Julian Treadwell

Julian Treadwell
Sessional GP in Bath. Formerly GP principal and trainer

Like many GPs over recent years, I’ve become increasingly frustrated by the move towards population based medical practice and away from patient centred care. Evidence based medicine has been a great thing in many ways but is overdue its next stage of evolution into something more person centred. Inspired by the BMJ’s Too Much Medicine campaign, the Preventing Overdiagnosis conference series and of course Margaret and Iona’s writing in this area, I’m getting involved in the cause and hoping to bring it more into the mainstream by involving the RCGP. I would love to hear from anyone who’s interested – see the overmedicalisation page on this blog.