September 27, 2023


Healthy Life

A fortunate man: the nation GP

4 min read

Spending his complete profession in the identical rural follow has constructed actual connections with sufferers, households, and the whole group, GP John Rees tells Kathy Oxtoby

Normal practitioner John Rees feels he’s a lucky man. A GP companion at Llanfair surgical procedure, located in a small rural group in Llandovery, Carmarthenshire, he says, “I really feel fortunate to have recognized and been the GP for 5 generations of native households.

“A lot of our sufferers’ households have lived within the space for nicely over 100 years. It’s pretty to assume you’re seeing the nice nice grandchildren of sufferers who you taken care of a few years in the past.”

His follow is the one one he has ever labored at as a certified GP—“one thing that hardly ever occurs as of late.”

“In some respects my working life is just like GP John Sassall, in John Berger’s A Lucky Man: The Story of a Nation Physician. I really feel lucky to work in the identical place, love working in Llandovery, and nonetheless actually get pleasure from normal follow,” he says.

His success is not only confined to his medical profession. “My spouse Kerry has been my rock, by means of thick and skinny, and our shut household is an important side of our lives. All my 4 kids are concerned in healthcare, and I’m very happy with them.”

Rees’s resolution to enter drugs was made as a young person rising up within the Welsh market city of Llanelli—“no different profession actually appealed to me.” And it was the chance to construct lengthy standing connections—with not solely sufferers, but in addition their households—that first drew Rees in direction of a profession generally follow. Initially, nonetheless, he had deliberate to concentrate on radiotherapy.

“After my medical coaching, and a 12 months as a home officer at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in 1982, I began working as a senior home officer within the radiotherapy division—a job I liked. Throughout that point, I realised the significance of connecting with family in addition to sufferers—of listening to their fears and making an attempt to reassure them, and for them to really feel heard—and the big distinction this will make to individuals’s lives.

“I learnt the significance of not simply treating the weak sufferers and their sickness, however supporting the entire particular person, together with their households. The necessity to construct these household connections prompted me to go away radiotherapy and to coach generally follow.”

Rees moved again to Wales, and to Llandovery, the place, after ending his coaching, he grew to become a GP companion on the native surgical procedure in 1986. As he constructed up his follow he continued to be impressed by the teachings learnt from the function fashions he labored for as a houseman. “I used to be impressed by the charismatic surgeon John Griffiths, who was Llanelli born—you may see the religion sufferers had in him—and my senior registrar, Dudley Sinnett, who had the power to attach and type an immediate rapport with all his sufferers, no matter their background, and who grew to become professor of breast surgical procedure.”

As a programme director in Carmarthen, he has delivered GP specialty coaching for over 20 years. Rees additionally hopes to encourage college students. “I attempt to reassure them, significantly those that are feeling weak.

“As a ‘vital good friend’ to trainees, a few of my suggestions could really feel fairly ruthless, till they recognize my humour, nevertheless it’s all the time meant in a form method.” He additionally talks to college students about “the significance of connecting with sufferers and being form to them.”

“I remind them that sufferers need kindness, and that kindness doesn’t price a factor.”

Rees has two different tasks. He heads the brand new fast analysis clinic within the district normal hospital, working carefully with secondary care consultants to see sufferers referred with potential malignancies. “Main and secondary care must work nicely collectively. It advantages us all, together with our sufferers. Everyone seems to be doing their greatest—and it’s difficult, presently.”

He additionally works as a health care provider adviser for Canopi, an organisation that helps healthcare professionals scuffling with despair and anxiousness. “The service is making an unlimited distinction, and it’s a privilege to listen to individuals’s tales and to assist them.”

Exterior work he watches cricket and rugby, sings in a choir, and spends time together with his household—“my household is the center of me,” he says. As but, he has no plans to retire. “I’ll keep on so long as I nonetheless get pleasure from my work and my sufferers make me snort and smile. I nonetheless love being a GP. I hope that there’s mutual respect between my sufferers and me. I really feel very fortunate.”

Nominated by Clare McCoubrey

As a medical pupil, Dr Rees was an inspiration and a spotlight of aspiration for me. This has solely grown within the 9 years I’ve recognized him.

He organized for me to do some shadowing at his GP follow. I used to be not solely touched by his immense kindness to me throughout that point, however have seldom been extra in awe of a GP.

His follow in rural Wales is without doubt one of the few that stay the place the “household physician” is simply that. He is aware of his sufferers and their households, and infrequently has seen all of them by means of life’s ups and downs. He taught me the significance of listening to sufferers, and to be form. This is applicable not solely to sufferers, but in addition to colleagues and collaborators.

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