The bit of the GP consultation that I love the most is the bit I rarely get time for in my surgery – health education and lifestyle medicine. A year ago I found my tribe with team BSLM and felt that I had the chance to be able to contribute, with support, to do what I became a doctor for – helping to better the health and wellbeing of my community “in sickness and in health”.
As great as the NHS is, we are sadly limited by both resources and time which contributes to burnout, overwhelmed and undervalued healthcare professionals. It doesn’t need to be this way. Value, for me, comes when I see improvement in health outcomes, when I feel I have connected with my patients and helped them understand the root cause to their problem, navigating them towards better health.
So, this year with the support of my BSLM colleagues, I gained the confidence to come up with and implement innovative ways to deliver education to my local community in Glasgow via workshops, talks, small group sessions, radio interviews and writing.
I have had the insightful experience of working in a practice serving a fairly deprived and ethnically diverse population. Around 85% of the community are of southeast Asian descent, a community where type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and mental health problems are a huge problem. Being a British asian myself, I find a real connection with this community both on a health and cultural level. I understand the complexities that fusion of the eastern-western lifestyles brings to health with varying degrees of understanding about diet, role of physical activity, work:life balance, sleep hygiene and cultural identification.
I am passionate about taking lifestyle medicine to the pockets of community that need to hear it the most because that’s where chronic diseases are brewing right from childhood. I’ve only just started and hope to contribute more so it came as a huge surprise to me when I learnt that I had been nominated by the public for my role in promoting health, wellbeing and lifestyle medicine at the Scottish Asian Awards 2018. To know that some people felt inspired and empowered to take ownership of their health enough to put me forward for such an award is truly humbling and makes me feel incredibly valued as a doctor. I won the “highly commended professional” award which has spurred me on to keep doing what I love most, serving my community.