GP, Project Surgery, Newham
When I was 19 years old and in my first term at medical school, my mum was seriously unwell with end stage heart failure. I travelled 250 miles back home to visit her in hospital. She looked really ill. I wasn’t sure whether I should leave her and travel back to medical school or stay. She said “you must go back. l want you to be a doctor and help people. I will be ok.” She died five days later.
Fast forward almost two decades and I cannot put into words how privileged I feel to be able to go to work every day and make a difference to people’s lives, just like mum wanted. When I look after my patients, I remember that they are someone’s family.
I run a practice in a deprived area of London. We get asked a lot about how the pandemic and the pressures we are facing has impacted our feelings towards medicine. For me, making sure that none of our patients are left behind has been really important and has motivated me to keep going. Recently we introduced a children’s immunisation drive through clinic at the practice because we didn’t want children missing these vital appointments. Using technology, we are now also able to triage all of our patients online. The pressing need created by coronavirus has meant we were able to pull in plans and aspirations we have been discussing for years.
When we opened our drive through children’s immunisation clinic, I remember apologising to the father of a baby I was vaccinating because it was windy outside. He told me not to apologise and said that we are learning together and doing our best during this time. He’s right. We don’t have all the answers just yet and are putting the pieces together as we go along. And that’s okay.
It’s difficult to put into words how privileged I feel to be able to go to work every day and make a difference to people’s lives and to help battle this global pandemic.
Now more than ever, it’s important that we see the humanity that makes up our GP practices, community services and hospitals. Every member of staff has their own story, fears and hopes for the future. I think Rankin’s photography brings this out really well.