As a medical student I represented my medical school at the founding of the European Medical Student Association in Belgium and a year later became mess President in my first house job. Alongside this came a representative role with a place on the regional Junior Doctor Committee and it was the time of the 120 hour working week and the successful negotiation of a seventy-two hour week and I helped in its implementation in subsequent jobs.
Thus at the first opportunity I stood for a place in my Local Medical Committee, I was driven by being a single-parent at the time having to pay for overnight childcare, with no reimbursement for my on-call shifts.
My drive was picked up on by the LMC Chief Executive who encouraged me to go to national conferences and stand for national roles. I was encouraged to stand for the Professional Executive Committee. My former course organiser encouraged me to set up and facilitate an educational group and to apply to the RCGP Leadership Programme. These more senior doctors belief in me and support was critical and I see that GP+ Networking can provide this to GPs now, looking to develop themselves in a special interest and leadership.
I like to listen to my colleagues’ views and try and impact on our working lives. Generally it provides less income than face-to-face general practice but it gives me an opportunity to do something about the frustrations we all experience.
Nationally I have been able to influence the healthcare system we all work in and our working lives in many diverse areas and I have been particularly rewarded by my work on the Standing Commission on Carers.
We are natural leaders in our communities, whether it’s cycle paths and air quality, children’s charities or refugees but at times as leaders we are vulnerable to public criticism and it’s vital that we are well supported by experienced colleagues. I feel that the GP+ Networking will supply this.