Padiham doctor is named Britain's GP of the Year

EAST Lancashire doctor James Fleming has been named Britain’s GP of the Year after launching a pioneering project to help patients suffering from isolation and unemployment.

Dr Fleming and his colleagues at Padiham Medical Centre set up the ‘Green Dreams’ project in 2011 to help patients with multiple problems that had a detrimental effect on their physical or mental health.

His work, which has now expanded across ten GP surgeries in East Lancashire, won recognition from the judges at the General Practice Awards in London.

Dr Fleming said: “I was absolutely amazed to win this award because you presume it’s just people in London that win things like this. “I was just pleased that, for once, someone from Burnley has won, because I grew up around here and I’m really proud of that.”

He had the idea for the project after seeing patients who had multiple problems, such as substance abuse, learning and educational difficulties, relationship problems, poor housing and financial issues, which were impacting on their health.

Many patients didn’t have the self-confidence or means to attend self-referral agencies to bring about changes in their lives, so the scheme pulls together various organisations, such as the Job centre or Citizens Advice, to make things easier.

Some have been offered voluntary work to develop derelict land, while others have created support groups to address the problem of isolation.

Victoria Vaughan, editor-in-chief of The Commissioning Review magazine, which helps run the awards, said: “These awards aim to celebrate the good work you do every day, innovating in effective patient care in what has been a tough year for the reputation of NHS staff."

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