What influenced your decision to work in General Practice?
General Practice for me is a really nice thing to do. I like that I get to know a family and the connections around the area and to help people with many different health problems – not just focus on one thing but to be generalist and know little bits about lots of things.
What made you decide to live, train and work in Somerset?
Myself and my now wife decided to apply to training in Somerset together after having both worked here as F1s and F2s and we really enjoyed it here. We went away to New Zealand for a year and we decided to come back for our training and so by applying to the same area we thought that would guarantee living together and not having to commute large distances – so it was a combination of convenience for the two of us as well as already knowing Somerset and really liking it here.
What’s the worst thing about being a GP?
The general pressure is the hardest part of being a GP at the moment. The underfunding and the lack of a workforce. I don’t think we’re any worse than anywhere else here in Somerset and perhaps we’re slightly better than some places but it’s a very difficult time at the moment and we’re very much feeling that. Our appointment waiting times are long and people get quite frustrated with that and people can be quite aggressive with us when they do get to see us – I think that’s the hardest part of it at the moment.
If you could wave a magic wand, what would you do with it?
I would make everyone appreciate the issues in the system at the moment and not just the politicians but the patients who come to see us as well.
If you could give GPs one piece of advice, what would it be?
Just take on the challenge and become a GP, you won’t regret it and if you want to come and work in Somerset then even better.
What do you like about living and working in Somerset?
Somerset is a place that people don’t really stop in – they go through on their way to Devon and Cornwall so it can be a bit quieter than those places but it’s just as beautiful and as amazing, in terms of the scenery and the things you can do here. You can go for amazing walks on tops of hills or you can go to the beach or you can go for long walks in the forest, it’s a lovely pace of life. It’s also really close to Bristol and Exeter, if you want to visit a busy city.
How did you find the training to be in Somerset?
It was really good, it was well structured and friendly; the trainers were really experienced and there was a nice blend of experienced GPs and younger GPs. It also had an open and relaxed atmosphere, which I liked.
Could you try and describe general practice in three words?
Bloody good fun.